MIMRA continued to develop and promote aquaculture for atolls and islands within the Marshall Islands as a source of food security, economic development and alternative income.
During 2017, four atolls were actively involved in aquaculture:
- Namdrik Atoll with its pearl oyster farming managed and operated by the Namdrik Atoll Local Government
- Aquaculture Technologies of the Marshall Islands (ATMI), a company established by Rongelap Atoll Local Government to operate Moi fish farming.
- Likiep and Arno atolls, where local residents are engaged in giant clam farming.
In addition, a private company, Marshall Islands Mariculture Farm (MIMF) located in Majuro Atoll, is culturing giant clams and corals.
An Aquaculture Unit team met with Majuro Atoll Mayor Ladie Jack to discuss implementation of giant clam farming in Majuro Atoll. The Mayor expressed interest and support. Although MIMRA’s pearl oyster hatchery in Majuro has been out of operation for several years, plans are underway to construct new raceway tanks to produce giant clam juveniles for grow-out by local giant clam farmers in Majuro.
In an effort to expand aquaculture to the outer islands, the Aquaculture Unit during 2017 conducted aquaculture awareness activities, interviews with local residents and habitat assessments on the outer islands. Different sites within various atolls were investigated for potential aquaculture activity.
The aim of this work is to develop an aquaculture profile of each atoll and island throughout the Marshall Islands to facilitate future development. In future, if a local government requests technical support for implementing an aquaculture program, a new baseline assessment would not be necessary with the availability of an already-completed aquaculture profile.
Additionally, to limit the inter-island transfer of live marine animals for aquaculture purposes, existing viable species within the various atolls and islands are also being recorded.
In follow up to work done in 2017, the Aquaculture Unit is planning to review and finalize a Biosecurity Protocol and Guidelines for aquatic animals, carry out biosecurity and animal health training for staff members, and conduct research and pilot grow-out of different species such as sponge, sea cucumber, edible seaweed, trochus and some finfish species.