Written By Gregory Fischbach

October 13, 2022
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Aerial view of Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University.

Aerial view of Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University..

Oceanic Institute (OI) of HPU recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help restore Hawai‘i’s vulnerable limu (seaweed) populations, allying Governor Ige’s January 2022 proclamation to make 2022 “Year of the Limu.”

“This project will fulfill NOAA priorities to support local aquafarmers and recreational fishing communities, including local limu ‘pickers,’ and has the potential to protect nearshore fisheries by promoting ecological services provided by cultured limu,” said principal investigator of the grant and Executive Director of OI Shaun Moss, Ph.D.

HPU’s $187,699 grant will directly benefit Hawai‘i’s aquafarmers and community organizations involved in limu restoration, as well as the local recreational fishing communities. Limu is an integral part of the traditional Hawaiian diet and is also used for medicinal, religious and cultural purposes, and ceremonial adornments.

The degradation of Hawai‘i’s near shoreline environment, coupled with overharvesting has resulted in the depletion of endemic and indigenous seaweeds known as limu. HPU’s restoration grant will focus on the development of an Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (ITMA) system for limu culture using nutrients supplied by “fed” aquaculture systems, as well as a traditional Hawaiian fishpond. This approach will provide Hawai‘i’s aquaculture farmers with a tool to mitigate negative impacts of nutrient-rich effluent while creating a consistent source of limu for Hawai‘i’s local communities involved in limu restoration.

OI will collaborate with Papepae o He‘eia to develop limu culture systems for deployment in the ancient Hawaiian fishpond that the organization operates. Traditional Hawaiian fishponds, or loko i‘a, were once prominent along the shores of the Hawaiian Islands as recently as the late 1700s. More than 400 fishponds in that time produced an estimated two-million pounds of fish per year. OI will also collaborate with Waimānalo Limu Hui to outplant limu into nearby coastal areas to help restore native habitat and enhance local recreational fisheries.

OI is a non-profit research and development organization dedicated to aquaculture, biotechnology, and coastal resource management. Its mission is to develop and transfer environmentally responsible technologies to increase aquatic food production, promoting the sustainable use of ocean resources.

To learn more about OI of HPU click here

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