1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Establish an experimental aquaculture facility in the Azores, with an initial focus on abalone production. The long term goal of this research center will be to develop knowledge and technology for other potential aquaculture species. This is supported under the Azores Cooperative Initiatives Program (ACIP), as jointly decided in May 2003 by the ACIP Technical Working Group held by the United States Government and the Regional Government of the Azores. ACIP, or rather the requirement to engage in cooperative initiatives with the Azores, Portugal, is mandated in the 1995 US-Portugal Agreement on Cooperation and Defense and further defined in the Final Minute to that agreement. ACIP was created and has been implemented through Department of Defense (DOD) financial resources and relationships with civilian federal agencies and other non-governmental institutions as part of the U.S Government’s commitment to the agreement. DOD has requested and funded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS) to serve as the lead civilian agency and facilitator for ACIP.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Recent worries about the fishing and wild resources sustainability have re-launched the discussion around the potential of aquaculture in the Region, as a way of generating economical and social development, and as a productive activity complementing the traditional fisheries. The recent workshop on “Developing a Sustainable Aquaculture Industry in the Azores” (Horta – June 2008) has contributed to this discussion and with few constrains, received support from social (Azorean fishermen organizations/associations and some local business people wanting to start the activity), political (both local and regional) and institutional (IMAR/DOP-UAç) organizations. In order to attain the objective mentioned above, the IMAR PI and scientific staff will take the following steps from September 2008- Sep 2010: a) By March/April of 2009 the laboratory will be planned/designed involving technical consultancy. The plan will be presented to appropriate Regional authorities and U.S. cooperators for technical advice. The PI will seek to raise the needed funds for its implementation. b) By April/July 2009 a small workshop on the aquaculture of grazing invertebrates (abalone, sea urchins, queen conch etc…) will be organized with the aim of transferring knowledge and technology on local species. c) By December 2009, scientific visits for training of two IMAR researchers (three to six month duration) in leading aquaculture laboratories will be conducted. By early 2010 the laboratory should be functioning with a first pilot experiment on local abalone (Haliotis tuberculata).
3. Progress Report:
Progress on the project was reported via email communications between the ADODR and Principal Investigator. The implementation of a small experimental research aquaculture facility at a university building located near the harbor is ongoing. The aeration and climate systems, sea-water pumping, and filtering and distribution systems to four experimental rooms are now fully operational. The facility is currently developing cultivation of Artemia sp and micro-algae in two of the four rooms. On May 2012, first experiments began on spawning induction, larvae culture and feeding of barnacles. In June 2012, members of the aquaculture team visited the Canary Institute of Marine Sciences in the Canary Islands. The team had an opportunity to learn techniques for the development of abalone production and macro-algae for abalone feeding. They also visited the Olhão Fish Culture Pilot Station, in Southern Portugal, to obtain pure micro-algae cultures and learn techniques for culture of phytoplankton and zooplankton. An aquaculture team member attended the Regional “Fórun Científico de Apoio à Decisão” (Scientific Forum to Support Decision) and presented a paper on the giant barnacle entitled “The Project CRACAS: Advances in Genetic Tools and Hatchery Techniques”. In addition to the project activities, the team has been working on the involvement of local private sector, potential entrepreneurs, and the Regional Government in order to stimulate new aquaculture projects. This is the final report of this project.