Cross-Pacific Indigenous Aquaculture Hub

Catalyzing a Cross-Pacific Regional Collaborative Hub to Advance Indigenous Aquaculture Practices and Enhance Marine Food Production for Cultural-Ecological Benefits

Cross-Pacific regional partners form a collaborative hub integrating research, outreach, and education to advance sustainable Indigenous Aquaculture practices.

Project Lead

Melissa Poe, Washington Sea Grant

Co-Project Leads

Rosanna Alegado, Hawaii Sea Grant Center of Excellence in Integrated Knowledge Systems

Julie Barber, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Fisheries Department

Ginny Eckert, Alaska Sea Grant

Courtney Greiner, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Fisheries Department

Katy Hintzen, University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program

Darren Lerner, University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program

Project

Washington Sea Grant, Hawaii Sea Grant and Alaska Sea Grant aim to catalyze a cross-Pacific regional collaborative hub integrating research, outreach and education to advance sustainable Indigenous Aquaculture practices and enhance seafood production in the broader Pacific region. Indigenous Aquaculture management practices–including cultural modifications to nearshore environments such as Native Hawaiian fishponds and Northwest coastal indigenous clam gardens–have the potential to strengthen community access to traditional and customary foods, increase local seafood production, and deepen collaborative engagement between Sea Grant and local tribal communities for aquaculture advancement, climate adaptation, and coastal restoration. Integral to the success of the project is developing a community of practice that involves diverse partnerships and stakeholders, comprised of Sea Grant staff, Northwest tribes, Native Hawaiian communities, universities, minority-serving colleges, and local non-profit organizations. Activities include: convening two cross-regional summits to learn about local and regional examples of traditional Indigenous Aquaculture systems; conducting a comprehensive assessment of cross-Pacific Indigenous Aquaculture; advancing existing restoration sites and collecting ecological baseline data on the effects of intertidal modifications on the nearshore ecosystem; and strategic planning for future Sea Grant engagements and investments in Indigenous Aquaculture. Additionally, the collaborative will support inclusive workforce and leadership development through fellowships and internships for students from historically underrepresented or underserved colleges.

Research Updates

Background

Rising food insecurity, together with a growing global population and climate variability, highlights the need for innovative approaches to expand local food production and access to quality seafood in marine settings. Marine aquaculture is increasingly recognized as a primary solution to food insecurity and declining wild stocks. This project examines Indigenous Aquaculture systems–cultural modifications to nearshore environments engineered over millennia to intensify production of marine foods–as some of the most promising localized solutions to these challenges in the broader Pacific region.

Recent Activities

An excerpt from WSG Director Russell Callender’s WSG Director’s Note on the February 2020 Indigenous Aquaculture Gathering in Hawaii:

“Over 125 guests — including representatives from 13 Pacific Northwest tribal nations; students and leaders from Northwest Indian College; and many more Indigenous stewards from across the globe — gathered at the Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi farm and He’eia fishpond on Oahu to learn about traditional Hawaiian aquaculture practices and technologies in February. The Hui Malama Loko l’a (meaning, “network that cares for fishponds”) gathering was a catalyzing event in a three-year NOAA grant led by Washington Sea Grant in coordination with Hawaii Sea Grant, Alaska Sea Grant and respective community partners. The grant aims to launch a cross-Pacific regional collaborative effort integrating research, outreach and education advancing sustainable Indigenous Aquaculture practices that enhance seafood production and strengthen community access to customary foods in the Pacific region. Just four days did that and more.”

WSG Social Scientist Melissa Poe (in purple), with Julie Barber of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Fisheries Department, helping to build the fish pond wall at He’eia fishpond on Oahu, February, 2020.