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Oceanic thinks big on shrimp

    By Contributing Writers. December 6, 2011 - 5:26 pm

Hawaii Pacific University’s Oceanic Institute sought to demonstrate its ability to produce high-quality seafood through re-volutionary technology Nov. 16

during its Pacific white shrimp harvest demonstration in Waimanalo.

The institute’s use of a recir-culating aquaculture system makes shrimp grown in its biosecure tanks resistant to disease and more sustainable to grow. The tanks themselves use less water and can produce up to 10 times more shrimp than open-pond farming, according to OI President Anthony Ostrowski.

“We are expecting to harvest 1,000 pounds of shrimp today and 6,000 out of the whole tank over several days in November,” Ostrowski said at the demonstration.

The shrimp produced in Hawaii can compete with foreign imports, which make up more than 90 percent of the U.S. market.

During the demonstration, the shrimp were caught in a main tank, sent down a pipe, weighed out on a scale and put into separate tanks with ice water.

The shrimp are byproducts of a lengthy and rigorous scientific trial that took more than 10 years of research by the OI staff.

“This technology is more environmentally sustainable and can be located in any region in the United States,” Ostrowski said.

HPU President Geoffrey Bannister, who is also chairman of the OI Board of Trustees, said the progress the institute is making “has great importance for Hawaii and the rest of the world.”

The demonstration was “an excellent example of how scientific research can have a positive impact on industry and our everyday lives,” he said.

Bannister said he believes the research also gives HPU marine science students a better insight into today’s technology, and he took the opportunity to highlight the new educational building the institute will provide for its students in April 2012.

State Sen. Clarence K. Nishihara, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture, was also quite impressed with the technology.

“It is definitely cutting-edge,” he said. “The way the shrimp get to consumers and let the local industries grow is very impressive.”

After the demonstration, the OI invited its guests for a lunch featuring fresh shrimp dishes by chef and restaurateur D.K. Kodama, who supports the institute and its efforts to increase local seafood production.

The Oceanic Institute  will donate about 50 pounds of shrimp to Waimanalo Job Corps and Waimanalo Health Center to help in their community outreach efforts.

The Oceanic Institute is the largest marine aquaculture research institute in the United States. It is a world leader in using research to improve aquaculture production and to support marine conservation.