- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, workshop
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
- Sustainable Communities: employment opportunities, community development
Justification: One of the most successful aquaculture enterprises in the FSM and RMI has been farming of marine ornamental invertebrates for supplying home aquariums in the United States and Europe. Giant clams (Tridacna spp.), hard and soft corals, ornamental sponges, zooanthids and corallimorphs are all cultured, using simple techniques for live export via air freight. Importantly, these methods of farming are considered highly sustainable with extremely low environmental impact and are endorsed and promoted by conservation groups and local governments as a means of income generation and poverty alleviation for rural communities. The marine ornamental aquaculture industry in the RMI and FSM could be greatly improved by better coordination and communication between practitioners. In addition, there are knowledge gaps especially among Land Grant and other public sector extension professionals of marine ornamental farming techniques. Activities and Methods: a. One week training for aquaculture professionals and producers at the Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei (MERIP), the premier training institute in this kind of aquaculture in the Micronesia region. Participants will travel from Kosrae and Majuro to Pohnpei where they will undergo a one week training on marine ornamental culture techniques. b. Study tour for 3 MERIP personnel to Majuro and Kosrae to visit existing facilities. This tour will also act as a feedback function for practitioners at these sites as the MERIP personnel will not only learn from their experiences but will also be able to provide advice to producers on-site. c. Study tour for one individual to the Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA) annual meeting in Des Moine, Iowa in 2011. d. In years 2 and 3 of the project follow up visits will be made to the project sites for the purposes of continued training and evaluation in Year 2 and evaluation in Year 3.
Project objectives from proposal:
Objectives: 1. Improved communication and coordination between practitioners and extension professionals in the FSM and RMI.
2. Increased skill levels of extension professionals and practitioners in marine ornamental culture methods.
3. New and improved partnerships within and between existing producers and extension professionals.
4. Increased number of individuals entering into marine ornamental farming either at the community or commercial level.