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Dept. of Agriculture to Present Prawn Farming Workshop

November 25, 2018, 9:00 AM HST (Updated November 9, 2018, 11:22 AM)
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Courtesy photo.

The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture & Livestock Support Services will present a hands-on freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) farming workshop at the University of Hawai‘i College of Agriculture, Panaewa, beginning in December 2018. The workshop is free to attend for Hawai‘i residents and will be held in six weekly sessions on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon.

Participants will learn how to raise freshwater prawns through all stages of their production lifecycle, and how to sell them. The sessions are split into two hours of theory and two hours of practical participation in the production cycle.

The workshop’s course outline is as follows:

Session 1: Background on prawn cultivation; biology and distribution of freshwater prawns.
Session 2: Principles of aquaculture; water quality, feed management and nutrition.
Session 3: Hatchery processes: construction and operation, including larval collection, feeding and handling.
Session 4: Larval stages, PL acclimatization and transportation.
Session 5: Nursery operation.
Sessions 6: Pond preparation and maintenance.
Session 7: Disease prevention and health monitoring.
Session 8: Grow-out feeding, sampling and pond management; management of production records and traceability.
Session 9: Harvesting techniques, post-harvest physiology, processing and marketing.
Session 10: Marketing, economics and funding requirements of freshwater prawn farming; polyculture possibilities and alternative strategies for production (Liz Xu of the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture will teach the economics and marketing of a prawn business. Brandon Askew from Street Grindz will teach the basics of selling prawns at a food truck).

The Saturday morning sessions will be held on Dec. 8 and 15, 2018; Jan. 5 and 19, 2019; and Feb. 5 and 9, 2019. For more information or to register, contact Liz Xu, acting manager for the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture & Livestock Support Services at (808) 483-7104 or liz.j.xu@hawaii.gov.

Freshwater prawns were once farmed in Hawai‘i on a large scale. In 1976, 14 prawn farms statewide produced 19,500 kg of product. Hawai‘i freshwater prawns taste like lobster and have an exotic appearance. They can be marketed as an appetizer or co-entry item, and can be sold through lunch trucks. The current wholesale price for prawns starts at roughly $16 per pound. Live prawns are sold at $26.99 per pound at Mauna Kea Market in Chinatown on O‘ahu.

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