As part of Northern Marianas College’s efforts to promote economic diversification and workforce development, its Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Services-Aquaculture and Natural Resources Program secured a $536,000 grant to construct mangrove crab (Scylla serrata) farming demonstration units on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
The mangrove crab demonstration units will be built at all three NMC campuses on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. The project will use crab grow-out boxes that will be stacked vertically. Each container will have 1,000 boxes allowing the production of 1,000 crabs per crop.
The demonstration units, which are funded by a Technical Assistance Program grant through the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, will be used by NMC-CREES to provide training to any individual who would like to pursue mangrove crab farming.
“I would like to thank the Office of Insular Affairs for their support. We look forward to modernizing aquaculture through methods that are environmentally friendly and that stimulate economic growth in the CNMI,” stated CREES Interim Dean Patty Coleman.
Mike Ogo, the program leader for the NMC-CREES Aquaculture and Natural Resources Program, said the need for economic diversification through new industries such as mangrove crab farming became evident after “Aside from agriculture, aquaculture can be added to the mix of economic diversification through the production of commodities for local consumption but, more importantly, exports that can generate badly needed revenue for the CNMI,” Ogo said. “This project will spur investments in aquaculture and, as a result, new businesses will be created that will cater to seafood-loving locals and tourists alike.”
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