COM’s RMI Regent Minister Heine Visits Sea Cucumber Hatchery

KOLONIA, POHNPEI, FSM. Dr. Manoj R. Nair, Director & Chief Scientist, COM Land Grant Aquaculture Programs, Nett Point, Pohnpei, FSM.

College of Micronesia Land Grant Program (NIFA, USDA) (COMLG), Board of Regents Member & Minister of Education Republic of the Marshall Islands Mr. Wilbur Heine and College of Marshall Islands Dean of Land Grant Mr. Biuma Samson visited Pohnpei from June 5-7, 2016.

Left to Right OFA Administrator Mr. Casiano Shoniber, Dean CMI Land Grant Biuma Samson, RMI Ambassador to Washington DC Mr. Gerald Zackios,, Director and Chief Scientist COM Aquaculture , Dr. Manoj R. Nair , Minister of Education RMI and COM Board Member, Mr. Wilbur Heine in front of the COM Land Grant Nett Point Hatchery at Nett Point, Pohnpei State.

Left to Right OFA Administrator Mr. Casiano Shoniber, Dean CMI Land Grant Biuma Samson, RMI Ambassador to Washington DC Mr. Gerald Zackios, Director and Chief Scientist COM Aquaculture, Dr. Manoj R. Nair , Minister of Education RMI and COM Board Member, Mr. Wilbur Heine in front of the COM Land Grant Nett Point Hatchery at Nett Point, Pohnpei State.

The main purpose of the visit was to visit the COM Land Grant Aquaculture Program at the COM Land Grant Nett Point hatchery. The COM Land Grant hatchery at Nett Point is currently developing site specific aquaculture technologies for economic development of FSM and Palau. The main focus currently is on sea cucumber aquaculture. The targeted species is the commercially important sea cucumber species Holothuria scabra commonly called sandfish and locally called “Langon” in Pohnpeian language. The sea cucumber farming tehnology being developed and trialed is based on hatchery produced sea cucumber juveniles.

Minister Wilbur Heine wanted to actually see the work being undertaken hands on by the local staff under the supervision of Dr. Nair. Minister Wilbur Heine and Dean Biuma Sampson had discussions with Dr. Nair to explore the possibility of coming over and establishing a sea cucumber hatchery in Majuro at the CMI Arrak Campus aquaculture facility and train Marshallese staff at COM Land Grant Nett Point hatchery on sea cucumber. These staff are expected to run the hatchery in Majuro when finished and up and running.

During the visit at Nett Point, Minster Wilbur Heine and Dean Biuma Samson also had the opportunity to meet the new Adiminstrator of Pohnpei State Government Office of the Fisheries and Aquaculture (OFA) Mr. Casiano Shoniber. The Minister Wilbur Heine and Dean CMI Land Grant was accompanied by Former Secreteriat of Pacific Community (SPC) Northern Region Chief and the new Republic of the Marshall Islands Ambassador to Washington DC, Mr Gerald Zackios.