The University of Guam Sea Grant is expanding its aquaculture program by offering more groups on the island an opportunity to apply for their own backyard recirculating aquaculture systems.
With the Community Based Aquaculture Systems (CBAS) program, UOG Sea Grant aims to support up to 20 systems and provide comprehensive hands-on training to the selected recipients, according to UOG Sea Grant aquaculture specialist David Crisostomo.
“These 20 systems will include an aquaponic component dedicated to growing plants using water from the fish tanks,” Crisostomo explained.
The program is open to a wide range of applicants, including individuals, households, mayors’ offices, schools, nonprofits, and others. However, applicants must be willing to participate in the program and commit to maintaining the system once received.
Participants will gain crucial knowledge about the intricacies of recirculating aquaculture systems, equipping them with the necessary skills to effectively care for their fish stocks.
The overarching goal of this project is to address food security and sustainability challenges in Guam, empowering households to enhance their self-sufficiency and contribute to the long-term resilience of the local food system.
“It’s crucial to promote these systems because we’ve realized, especially during past disasters like COVID-19 and typhoons, that disrupted shipping lines can greatly impact our food supply. Guam imports over 90 percent of its food, so in the event of shipping disruptions, ensuring food security becomes critical,” Crisostomo emphasized.
Before CBAS, UOG Sea Grant had already distributed several recirculating aquaculture systems, or RAS, to nonprofits such as Guahan Sustainable Culture and other community partners.
UOG Sea Grant also provided basic infrastructure support, workforce development, training, or workshops as part of capacity-building. While starting small with just a few multi-sectoral partners, UOG Sea Grant plans to expand the program to other groups in the future, with the end goal of revitalizing the aquaculture industry on Guam.
The promotion of aquaculture advances the Guam Green Growth Action Framework in addressing Goal 14 (Life Below Water) of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to conserve and sustainably use the ocean and marine resources for development. In addition, sustainable and long-term growth in the aquaculture industry could also contribute to achieving Goals 2 (Zero Hunger) and 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) of the UN SDGs.