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Tony Babauta Visits Aquaculture Trainees at NMC (August 1, 2012)

U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs, Anthony (Tony) Babauta, recently visited individuals from the CNMI Aquaculture Producers Association (CAPA) currently undergoing aquaculture training at the Northern Marianas College.

CAPA endeavors to develop an aquaculture workforce in the CNMI by providing hands-on training and scholarship opportunities, as well as educational instruction through the Aquaculture Training for On-line Learning (ATOLL) program for participants.

CAPA is part of the Agriculture & Aquaculture Enhancement Program, which is funded by the CNMI Department of Commerce through an economic and labor enhancement grant from the Interior Office of Insular Affairs.

Through the NMC Cooperative Research Extension and Education Service (NMC-CREES), participants are provided hands-on instruction to gain experience at the College’s aquaculture facilities. During the six-month long program, participants are also required to take academic courses at NMC, such as Agricultural Science and Introduction to Business.

“Participants are awarded certificates of completion at the end of the training,” said NMC-CREES aquaculture specialist Michael Ogo. “This achievement will make them highly employable in a fast growing industry worldwide.”

Ogo also reported that the current training session will finish in October with the second cohort expected to begin the following month in November.

Babauta toured the NMC campus and NMC-CREES aquaculture facilities, and met with participants to learn more about the progress of the training program. Babauta also expressed his interest in aquaculture and even indicated that he would also like to raise his own fish.

During the visit, NMC president Dr. Sharon Y. Hart greeted Babauta and thanked him for his support of the CNMI and NMC.

“I am extremely thankful for Mr. Babauta’s support of the College,” said Hart. “At the same, I commend NMC-CREES for their efforts in helping CAPA create a workforce for the CNMI’s aquaculture industry.”

“I am also proud to mention that their dedication to the expansion of this field has helped make the CNMI one of the largest producers of shrimp,” added Hart.

For more information about the CAPA training program and/or the NMC-CREES aquaculture division, contact NMC-CREES aquaculture specialist Michael Ogo at 234-5498 ext. 1728 or email [email protected].

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