Over a year after Super Typhoon Yutu, the Northern Marianas College Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Service finally completed the reconstruction of its Aquaculture Program facility earlier this month.
Aquaculture Program leader Michael M. Ogo said the reconstruction cost them over $500,000. This does not include another $250,000 for staff salary and supplies.
He said NMC-CREES’ Aquaculture Program is vital in developing the economy. “I wish that there are more [research & development]…because it would help the CNMI’s economy.”
Construction work on the Aquaculture Program facility started last September. Last Jan. 1, the Aquaculture Program was also awarded a grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture in support of its fourth pale rabbit fish project.
Ogo said the aquaculture facility provides fish farmers in the Northern Marianas high-market potential for their produce. “The program could provide them the baby fish and they can grow it.”
“[We] would like rabbitfish to be the next aquaculture fishery commodity to grow in the Northern Marianas to be sold by [local] fish farms,” he added.
The aquaculture facility will most likely be operated a month from now as they are still waiting for equipment needed for their research project on rabbitfish. (Chevy Kate Q. Alipio)