Agriculture: Aquaculture Specialty

This is content from the Catalog 2019–2020 back issue. Please visit the current catalog for current information.

Contact: Maria Haws

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Tel: (808) 932-7691

The Aquaculture program is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the scientific basis, design, and management of aquaculture systems. The program provides hands-on training in a wide-range of aquaculture activities and stresses the international nature of this field of study. Approximately 40% of the required courses are in aquaculture and agriculture with the other 60% in natural sciences and humanities.

The program produces educated aquaculturists needed by the growing aquaculture industry in Hawaiʻi and throughout the world. Aquaculture graduates from UH Hilo have the training to obtain employment immediately after graduation with private firms and various government agencies as aquaculture biologists/technicians. Because of the broad emphasis of the program on both biology and agriculture technology, they have many of the skills required to start their own aquaculture enterprises. If students desire a career in research or teaching, the aquaculture program can also enable the student to be qualified for admittance to graduate programs in aquaculture and fisheries.

The area in close proximity to the UH Hilo campus has unique potential for aquaculture education. The availability of warm freshwater, warm seawater, and cold seawater (from deep wells) allows the culture of most aquaculture species including trout, salmon, carp, shrimp, tropical fish, various seaweeds, and shellfish. A freshwater aquaculture facility at the UH Hilo Agricultural Farm Laboratory is complemented by a 12-acre coastal site at Keaukaha, adjacent to the port of Hilo. Facilities include a water quality laboratory, a shellfish hatchery, a marine fish hatchery, demonstration fish culture units, and a marine mammal rehabilitation facility. Freshwater and marine aquaponics demonstration units are also present at each facility. Opportunities for student employment, internships and senior thesis/research projects are available on a variety of projects conducted by the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (PACRC), a part of CAFNRM.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will have a thorough understanding of, and be able to describe the worldwide extent and importance of aquaculture in the production of food, chemicals, recreation and environmental mitigation.
  2. Students will become familiar with, and be able to compare and contrast the major types and components of aquaculture systems, species and factors affecting system sustainability.
  3. Students will be able to identify global cultural, social, economic and historical factors that affect aquaculture development with an emphasis on the Hawaiʻi and Pan-Pacific region and be able to describe specifically how these factors affect aquaculture.
  4. Students will be able to explain the relationship between aquaculture, society and the natural environments for the major aquaculture areas around the world, including potential impacts (positive and negative), and how environmental and social challenges can be solved. Emphasis will be placed on Hawaiʻi and the Pan-Pacific region, although regions such as Latin America and SE Asia will also be covered.
  5. Students will have experiential learning opportunities (e.g. hands-on experiences at laboratories, farms, demonstration centers) to acquire skills and abilities including hatchery, growout, harvesting and marketing of aquaculture species to enhance their competitiveness in their future careers.