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Last updateTue, 10 Dec 2019 12am

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    Monday, December 9, 2019-12:10:34P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Groups get $90K for tilapia farming

A GROUP of tilapia producers received $90,000 from the Department of Commerce to develop a CNMI workforce in aquaculture.

Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research Extension and Education Services Director Ross Manglona, third right back row, and aquaculture extension agent Mike Ogo, right, join the members and officers of the CNMI Aquaculture Producers Association. Contributed photoNorthern Marianas College-Cooperative Research Extension and Education Services Director Ross Manglona, third right back row, and aquaculture extension agent Mike Ogo, right, join the members and officers of the CNMI Aquaculture Producers Association. Contributed photoThe money is a sub-grant from the $1 million technical assistance grant that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs awarded Commerce a few months ago.

In an interview last Friday, Michael Ogo, aquaculture extension agent of Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research Extension and Education Services, said the $90,000 will be used for the Aquaculture Workforce Development Program.

The group that will spearhead the program is the CNMI Aquaculture Producers Association.

Their task is to mitigate the problem posed by the objective of U.S. Public Law 110-229 which  extended the federal immigration system to the CNMI and aims  at reducing the islands’ dependence on foreign workers.

Ogo said federalization came at the time when the CNMI is developing aquaculture industry as a viable economic activity.

NMC-CREES, he said, is given the responsibility to develop aquaculture in the CNMI so it is very important for them to prepare the local workforce for the developing industry.

Over the last five years, Ogo said there has been progress in building interest among locals to get into aquaculture. In 2007, there were only three aquaculture farmers on Saipan, including Tony Pellegrino.

This year, Ogo said there are now 16 of them including Gus Maratita who is starting a big shrimp farm on Rota.

The president of CAPA is Pete S. Arriola and the project manager for the program is Gus Loste.  The board members of CAPA are Carolyn Hosono and James Matsumoto.