On February 16, a diverse group of East Hawai‘i community leaders from academic, business, agriculture and public health areas gathered for a Perspective on Community Health field trip at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resource Center (PACRC).

The two-hour walking tour and tasting session included a newly established marine ornamental fish project in which deep water fish were being researched. The group walked throughout the facility learning about and viewing oyster seed production, looking into large above ground pools filled with kamachi and grouper, as well as mullet farming and multiple types of algae production.

The tour concluded with a tasty lunch consisting of aquaponics-produced fresh-water tilapia and oysters that were initially raised at the center and then shipped to the Pacific Northwest for farming.

The tour provided participants with insight into the rich aquifer that the Center is located on, the abundant opportunities for sustainable marine food production and the value of the center for students who are studying marine science and aquaculture for hands on learning and application.

HIPHI looks forward to future Perspectives on Community Health visits with UH Hilo’s College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management Agriculture’s Panaewa Farm.

(Featured image above: Future UH Hilo student, Jordan Ancheta from Waiakea High, looks with interest at Oyster cells.)

Back Row: Raquel Chang, Leeann Okamoto, Gordon Takai, Mary Begier, Marnie Honeycut,  Christopher Parayno, & Forrest Batz. Seated: Catherine Southern, Maria Haws & Sally Ancheta. Missing from photo: Jordan Ancheta

Maria Haws explaining the tanks for the oyster seeds which will be shipped to the Pacific Northwest.

Larvae being cultivated for future oyster seeds, in this tank nearly 500,000 larvae will attach to individual pieces of sand.