Categorized | Environment

OI-HPU yellow tang research gets boost from funders


Groundbreaking breeding research at Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University on the yellow tang, an enormously popular fish for aquarium enthusiasts worldwide, will go forward with greater speed, thanks to $75,000 in new funding from multiple sources.

The Hawaii Community Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority have committed $35,000 to the research, through HTA’s Natural Resources Program.

The Sea World/Busch Gardens Conservation Fund is providing an additional $8,000. OI-HPU is also providing $32,000 in in-kind support, as well.

Last year, Institute research scientist Chatham K. Callan, Ph.D., realized a breakthrough in breeding techniques that allow them to culture viable eggs in significant quantities and successfully rear the resulting larvae through their critical first few weeks of life.

Callan called the research, which was published in Global Aquaculture Advocate, “a significant first step toward a viable, cultured supply” of yellow tang.

The continued development of the breeding techniques could be a boon for the aquarium industry as well as Hawaii’s coastal environment. Because the fish have not been able to be bred successfully in captivity, more than 300,000 of them are collected from Hawaii reefs annually.

The new funding will support a one-year project aimed at bringing the culturing work from its current state to a level that will facilitate the first ever successful captive rearing of this species.

“This research is a fine illustration of Oceanic Institute’s continued dedication to marine aquaculture, biotechnology and coastal resource management,” said Shaun Moss, acting president of OI and CEO of Scientific Programs. “With our recent merger with Hawaii Pacific University, we hope to build on this success with new research on other species and to explore other ways that the Institute can contribute to the global body of knowledge on finfish.”

Hawaii Pacific University is the state’s largest private university with 7,000 students from the United States and more than 80 foreign nations. HPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council on Social Work Education and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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