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NMC-CREES Promotes Bio-Security on Aquatic Farms (September 2, 2009)

The Northern Marianas College’s Cooperative Research Extension and Education Services (CREES), under the Division on Community Programs & Services, is stepping up its efforts to increase public awareness of security issues surrounding local aquatic farms, especially shrimp farms.

In addition to a promotional brochure that will be disseminated this month, the College will be hosting workshops to showcase CREES’s bio-secure wet laboratory, which houses its shrimp tanks, and demonstrate the use of the wet lab’s equipment and other procedures.

The enhanced activities, through funds provided by the Smith-Lever Act Formula grant, are being conducted in response to an increase in prospective aquatic farmers seeking entry into the shrimp industry. Since the development of the local shrimp industry in 2005, NMC-CREES staff have undergone extensive training on shrimp disease control and bio-security measures.

NMC-CREES aquaculture extension agent and CREES acting director Michael Ogo, along with summer interns Cheska Salen and Naomi Cabrera, compiled the brochure, which is currently being reviewed by off-island bio-security professionals.

“The CNMI is considered by many bio-security experts abroad as an ideal, virus-free location for shrimp farms,” said Ogo. “We are implementing any measures necessary to maintain the health of local shrimp stocks.”

Last year, CREES hosted an “Opportunities in Aquaculture” symposium that featured a presentation by University of Guam professor Dr. Hui Gong. Dr. Gong outlined the potential of a shrimp industry in the CNMI and explained measures to prevent the spread of diseases and contamination. Earlier workshops were held in July of 2007.

“We will be hosting mini-workshops on bio-security in late November in anticipation of the 2010 farm season,” added Ogo.

“The increase in awareness activities conducted by CREES exemplifies the College’s commitment to providing customized services in response to the community’s needs,” said Dean of Community Programs & Services Tee Abraham. “We will continue to offer guidance and assistance to the community through workshops, conferences, and other activities.”



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