Hawaii was the first state to publish a comprehensive aquaculture development plan in 1979. The State followed the plan by establishing of an Aquaculture Development Program for implementation and to provide research funding and critical support services to the industry. Commercial production has increased over 40 times to $22M (wholesale value) since 1979 and research and technology transfer activities contribute another $10 to 12M each year to the economy.
Today, world aquaculture is on track to be the dominant producer of aquatic protein early in the 21st century. The Hawaii industry has accepted the challenge to be part of that progress by providing cutting edge research, technical training, degree education, and consulting expertise for key species and production systems. The State also seeks to provide a venue for international conferences to further industry communication.
Most exciting, Hawaii's 20-plus years of industry planning and development has led to six target product areas for further expansion: high value seafoods; microalgae for food and specialty chemicals; macroalgae for food and specialty chemicals; disease-free broodstock and seed; freshwater and marine aquarium species; and open-ocean production of fish and shellfish. To help these segments to collectively grow aquaculture into a major industry, the Islands possess competitive advantages: abundant natural resources, sophisticated infrastructure and expertise in the public and private sectors, political stability, geographic isolation for biosecurity and geographic placement between the two largest seafood importers.