Waianae High Teachers and Students Participate in Aquaculture Workshop

Submitted by Gary Karr, College of Natural and Computational Sciences Science Outreach Director, HPU at Oceanic Institute 

This past spring, 22 students, three teachers, and two chaperones from Waianae High School’s Marine Science Learning Center (WHS MSLC) attended a three-day aquaculture workshop at the Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University (OI-HPU). The USDA Regional Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture provided funding for two annual workshops; one in 2019 and the other in 2020. The workshops are a collaborative effort by researchers and staff of OI-HPU and HPU's College of Natural and Computational Sciences who provided support, technical expertise, and instruction. 

The WHS MSLC group participated in hands-on activities, including learning methods to produce live larval feeds to support larval fish culture and how to improve their shrimp grow out projects. Students learned how to use hemocytometers to count algal cell density in cultures and background algae in rearing systems. In addition to getting information to improve their methods of raising the shrimp post-larvae they get from OI-HPU, they learned about the selective breeding process OI-HPU employs to improve the performance of their shrimp families. The students also participated in an aquaculture business game, a college mini-fair, and a career lunch mingle with industry professionals. The purpose of the workshop is to provide the students with the latest aquaculture techniques and skills while learning about higher education opportunities and careers in aquaculture and marine science. 

Prior to the start of the workshop and at the end, students were asked to complete surveys. These surveys indicated an increase of knowledge and skills by the participants of the workshop. A majority of the participants found the workshop beneficial and rewarding; stating they would welcome participating again in the future and are interested in pursuing a science career. The teachers and HPU staff met after the workshop to debrief. This examination of what worked, what needs changing, and implementing improvements, will make next year’s workshop even more successful!