MES awarded $290K two-year grant


The Micronesian Environmental Services has just been awarded a $290,000 two-year award by the NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program.

This grant supplements funds from the NOAA Pacific Islands Fishery Science Center provided since 2010 to support the MES Biosampling Program.

MES, a Saipan-based environmental consulting firm founded in 1994, works with Saipan fresh fish vendors to measure fish, identify species catch composition, and collect landings data and life history samples on reef fish.

The program has measured more than 207,844 reef fish and examined 2,835 individual spear-fishing catches. It has also collected more than 13,486 otoliths (fish ear bones) and gonad (reproductive organs) samples from 21 reef fish species that are an important local food source.

Otoliths help determine the age of fish, while gonads reveal their sex and maturity.

Data from the biosampling program has provided the basis for several published scientific papers on Saipan reef fish.

The SK grant provides equipment, training and staff support needed to process and analyze a backlog of otoliths and gonads.

Federal and local fishery scientists and managers, including the Division of Fish and Wildlife will use the data to identify important life history characteristics in the commercial catches and how these characteristics relate to each other. DFW can then use this information to determine whether a particular species needs additional management measures.

The current MES Biosampling Program staff includes program manager Tony Flores, data manager Manny Ramon, and fishery lab technicians George B. Salas Jr., Lucio Kalen, Frincess “Max” Garcia and Tony Camacho. PIFSC staff members Kimberly Lowe, Michael Trianni and Brett Taylor provide technical oversight. DFW staff members Michael Tenorio and Trey Dunn have collaborated with the program. John Gourley is the principal and owner of MES. (PR)

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