HPU News for November 2011

OI demonstrates revolutionary shrimp growing technology

November 22, 2011

Oceanic Institute officials and visiting senator

Dr. Shaun Moss, vice president of Research and Development at the Oceanic Institute, Hawai‘i Pacific University President and OI Board Chairman Dr. Geoffrey Bannister, State Sen. Clarence Nishihara, and OI President Dr. Anthony “Tony” Ostrowski meet during a recent demonstration harvest at OI.

WAIMANALO — Ten years of research at Hawai‘i Pacific University affiliate the Oceanic Institute (OI) has led to aquaculture technology that can compete with foreign imports and provide a sustainable seafood product to U.S. consumers.

To showcase the technology, OI held a demonstration harvest of Pacific White Shrimp Nov. 16, with invited guests from HPU, local government and agribusinesses.

The harvest demonstrated OI’s intensive Recirculating Aquaculture System technology, highlighting scientific advancements in shrimp farming that will better meet the U.S. demand for seafood.

OI breeds shrimp in biosecure tanks that use 1,000 times less water and produce shrimp at densities that are 10 times higher than open pond farming.

“We are harvesting at a high density and have taken the shrimp to a larger size. The larger size offers a higher market price. This technology will gradually revolutionize the shrimp industry,” said OI President Anthony “Tony” Ostrowski, Ph.D.

Most U.S. shrimp is imported from warm climates. The technology can be transferred anywhere, even to states with cold climates, for example, Michigan, Ostrowski said.

OI Board chairman and HPU President Dr. Geoffrey Bannister called OI’s advancements, “an excellent example of how scientific research can have a positive impact on industry and our everyday lives.

“Once this method is adopted more widely, Americans will no longer be as dependent on imported shrimp, but instead will be able to enjoy shrimp produced more locally,” Bannister said.

The Oceanic Institute celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and has long been recognized as the premier aquaculture facility in the U.S. OI has transferred its technology worldwide and has supplied superior shrimp broodstock throughout the world.

State Sen. Clarence Nishihara, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, said he learned that 90 percent of the shrimp now being farmed worldwide can trace genetic material back to OI. “I don’t think the public realizes that Hawai‘i’s place in the industry is so large,” Nishihara said.

Following the harvest, guests were treated to a shrimp sampling luncheon, with shrimp cooked in a variety of creative ways by noted local chef D.K. Kodama of Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar.

“The product is good. I applaud them and the more that they can do for Hawai‘i and create more jobs, we’d be better off as a state,” Kodama said.

“The successful development of this technology is not only a great achievement for the Oceanic Institute and the goals of its affiliation with Hawai‘i Pacific University, but it has the potential to completely change the way we source shrimp in the United States,” said Bannister.

Pacific White Shrimp

Pacific White Shrimp were harvested in a demonstration of the Oceanic Institute’s
aquaculture technology that can compete with foreign imports and provide a
sustainable seafood product to U.S. consumers.

Shrimp harvest

OI Research Assistant Paul Ahina empties a basket
of large shrimp, byproducts of cutting edge technology
developed at OI. The shrimp were harvested from a
biosecure tank, seen in the background.