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    Tuesday, December 11, 2018-7:29:30P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Fish farm business gets Zoning Board’s nod

A RESIDENT of I-Denni on Capitol Hill has secured a permit to operate a fish farm from the Saipan Zoning Board.

On Thursday, the board granted the conditional use permit application of James Matsumoto who wants to run his own aquaculture farming business.

Matsumoto said he started it as a hobby and later decided to turn it into a commercial venture so he can maximize the use of his property.

His business, he added, will also help local farmers.

“Food security is important for the island,” Matsumoto said.

His fish farm, he added, will use rainwater and will receive grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the CNMI government.

James Matsumoto, an applicant for a conditional use permit to operate an aquaculture farm, addresses the Zoning Board.  Photo by Junhan B. TodinoJames Matsumoto, an applicant for a conditional use permit to operate an aquaculture farm, addresses the Zoning Board. Photo by Junhan B. Todino

Michael Ogo, Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research Extension and Education Services aquaculture extension agent, said Matsumoto allows students to see his fish farm for educational and research programs.

Heidi Yelin, for her part, asked how Matsumoto will dispose fish waste while another neighbor, Connie Togawa, was concerned about the noise of the water pump.

Matsumoto said they will clean the fish farm three times each week and all the solid waste will be transported to their fruit tree farm.

He said they have five hectares of farm land with enough buffer zones to contain the waste.

As for the water pump, he said it has already been repaired and soon, they will get a grant for a solar power pump.

Former zoning official Herminia Matsumoto Fusco said she supports the business proposal not because James Matsumoto is her nephew but because the undertaking is promoting local produce.

“We should encourage locally grown businesses,” she added.

Zoning Administrator Therese Ogumoro said James Matsumoto’s business is classified as aquaculture and commercial and is permitted in the district as conditional use.

The site is on I-Denni-Capital Hill which can be accessed from Isa Drive and Cator Place, and is zoned as rural.