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Business Start-up Results from Abalone Workshop (April 20, 2009)

Four farmers in Rota have recently decided to pool their resources to create a commercial abalone farm after attending a workshop conducted by the Northern Marianas College ” Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Service (CREES).

Facilitated by Aquaculture Specialist Michael Ogo, the “Grow-out Requirements for Abalone Production” was held on earlier this month at the NMC Tatachog Campus in Rota.

There were 14 participants who attended the workshop and learned about biology of abalone, feeding requirements, water quality management, system maintenance, and the economic of abalone farming.

According to Ogo, the workshop was highly successful. The farmers who attended and who have decided to pool their resources are looking into negotiating with the Rota Municipality to lease idle aquaculture tanks in Tatachog for their venture.

“The workshop is a good example of how NMC and CREES are transferring research-based knowledge that will ultimately help to develop large and small industries in the CNMI,” said Tee Abraham, Dean of the NMC Community Programs and Services.

Abalone is an edible mollusk that is a highly priced delicacy in Asia. They have been mass-produced in China and Japan since the 1950s. A disease has reduced the Chinese abalone stock, thus giving chance for the CNMI to enter into this market.

In addition to their use as food, the abalone’s highly iridescent shells have traditionally been made into buttons, inlays for furniture, musical instruments, or jewelry. Pearls from abalone are popular in New Zealand and Australia and very expensive rarities.

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