Oceanic Institute (OI) of HPU Engages in Project, Studying Three Ancient Hawaiian Fishponds

Hale ‘O Lono fishpond in Hilo

The OI Finfish Department, led by Director Chad Callan, Ph.D., completed a three-year project in collaboration with Conservation International. The project, funded by a grant awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, allowed the team to study the feasibility of turning Hawaiian fishponds into aquaculture sites.  

News outlet Mongabay recently published an article, posted here, featuring the project and an interview of Callan. Callan notes that Hawai‘i was once able to secure its food supply locally through agriculture and aquaculture. While climate change has made it challenging to source food this way, Callan said the tools are still available to do this.  

The Mongabay article indicates 87% of Hawai‘i’s food is imported, including 63% of the state’s seafood.  

HPU News asked Executive Director of OI of HPU Shaun Moss, Ph.D., for his comment. “Threats to Hawai‘i’s food security have become magnified during the coronavirus pandemic and highlight the urgent need for the state to increase support for local food production, including aquaculture,” he said. “It is imperative for Hawai‘i to become more self-sufficient in producing our own food, and Hawaiian fishponds can contribute to this important effort.” 

Pictured: Hale ‘O Lono fishpond in Hilo, where the project team had their wrap-up meeting and helped to rebuild a fishpond wall badly damaged by storm surge. Photo by Chad Callan.