Kampachi Farms is a Hawai’i-based aquaculture company focused on expanding sustainable fish production
By Zdenka Willis, U.S. IOOS Program Director
We started on Hawai’i Island, meeting with Neil Sims of Kampachi Farms. Kampachi Farms is a Hawai’i-based aquaculture company focused on expanding sustainable fish production. They have an innovative research program. The Velella Project is the world's first "beta-test" of an unanchored free-drifting oceanic fish culture system.
I saw PacIOOS in action while visiting from April 8-12, and three key points emerged. First and foremost, I give my sincere thanks to the PacIOOS team for their hospitality while hosting me. Second, everywhere we visited, people praised PacIOOS work – from providing necessary sensors to the National Weather Service, delivering data management services to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Science Center, working with the University of Hawai’i system and local communities to provide information and products to help preserve the ecosystem, collaborating with the U.S. Coast Guard to provide lifesaving oceanographic products to industry partners supporting their operations. Third, it is really all about community and culture on the Hawaiian Islands.
Jonathan Kanekoa Kukea-Shultz, Kaneohe Marine Coordinator for the Hawaii Nature Conservancy and Allen Tom, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Pacific Islands Regional Director are holding up a plan of restoration for the He'eia fishpond.
From there we met with Jason Adolf, Assistant Professor of Marine Science at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo (UHH), on partnerships for deploying buoys and gauges. His students will soon deploy and maintain buoys and water quality gauges to understand sediment transport into the marine ecosystem. The first day concluded with a meeting with Matt Hamabata and Cindy Punihaole, of the Kohala Center at Kahalu’u Bay. Through volunteer reef teachers and their education center (see the picture of the van), the center reaches over 400,000 visitors to the Kahalu‘u Bay.
Day 2 took us to Maui, where we met with two important partners. Donna Brown, of the University of Hawai’i Maui College, runs the Marine Option Program (MOP). MOP is open to all students who sign up to complete a project. PacIOOS is working with the group to kick off a project where MOP students will take care of water quality gauges on Maui.
Jason Adolf, Assistant Professor of Marine Science at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo (UHH), Heather Kerkering, Deputy Executive Director of PacIOOS, Chris Ostrander, Executive Director of PacIOOS
The second partner at this meeting was Liz Foote. Ms. Foote works for the non-governmental organization, Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL). Foote started a very cool sign project called Respecting Coral Reefs. This effort is designed to educate locals and tourists who visit popular coral reef locations around Maui about proper reef etiquette. Composed of informative tips and colorful photographs, local businesses “adopt” interpretive signs, meaning they fund sign creation and installation. The project is so successful on Maui that CORAL expanded the program throughout the state of Hawai’i.
From there, Chris Ostrander, Heather Kerkering and I met with Mark Fornwall, Director of the U.S. national node of the Ocean Biographic Information System (OBIS-USA) a program of the U.S. Geological Survey, to discuss a myriad of biological data issues. We then headed to the Pacific Disaster Center, a Department of Defense effort to compile data and alerts on worldwide hazards. Check them out at: http://www.pdc.org/iweb/pdchome.html.
I spent the remainder of my time on O’ahu, where I visited the PacIOOS team, which is doing an awesome job delivering data portals, wave buoys, flood warning products, and education material in native languages! I met with Senior NOAA leadership from the National Weather Service, the National Ocean Service’s Pacific Services Center, the National Marine Fisheries Service Science Center and Regional Office, and appreciated their hospitality and the ever-growing partnership between NOAA and PacIOOS.
Kahalu‘u Bay Education Center—at Kahalu‘u Beach Park, Hawai’i Island--teaches respect and reverence for the natural and cultural resources of the bay.
NOAA’s Regional team was meeting, and Heather Kerkering of PacIOOS and I joined the field trip to Paepae o He'eia, a private non-profit organization dedicated to caring for He'eia Fishpond, an ancient Hawaiian fishpond. The goal of this project is to refurbish the fishpond’s wall, “kuapā”, in order to preserve the integrity of the fishpond and support unique cultural, educational, and aquaculture programs. NOAA is a partner in this effort.
My final stop took me to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, where we talked about the importance of high resolution oceanographic data and models for search and rescue. Bob Coster, Sector Honolulu search and rescue coordinator, said it best – “when we have lives on the line, we need the absolute best and highest resolution we can get and it needs to be there dependently and in our operational system.”
My sincere appreciation to Chris Ostrander, PacIOOS Executive Director, and Heather Kerkering, PacIOOS Deputy Director, and the entire PacIOOS team for a JOB WELL DONE.