Saturday, July 10, 1999

Oceanic Institute
impresses ambassador

By Susan Kreifels


Indonesia has the fourth-largest population in the world, and 70 percent of its 210 million people lives along the coastline.

World demand for fish is increasing, and much of the ocean has been overfished.

Indonesia, which a ranking Indonesian official calls one of the most open economies among large developing nations, is looking to grow and diversify its aquaculture production.

Hawaii's Oceanic Institute led a multimillion-dollar project helping Indonesian villages develop fishponds, 600 of which survived the country's economic crisis.

And to add urgency, recent reports say coral reefs are fast dying due to global warming.

Indonesia's ambassador to the United States ticks off these facts to underline why he was so interested in his visit this week to Oahu's Oceanic Institute.

"Fascinating, wonderful," Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti calls the institute.

He's especially impressed with the institute's focus on fish production that's safe for the environment.

The ambassador made the comments after a luncheon speech sponsored by the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, East-West Center and Friends of the East-West Center.

Diane Peters Nguyen, director of development at the Oceanic Institute, said the institute's seven-year project in Indonesia was highly successful in creating fishponds in villages.

She said the ambassador outlined several projects he wants to see develop between Indonesia and Hawaii: shrimp-farming techniques that are environmentally responsible; increasing fishery stocks and open-ocean fish populations; coastal-zone management; and farming marine ornamental fish.

Ornamental fish farming is an area that state planners believe is prime for Hawaii. C. Richard Fassler, an economic development specialist with the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, called it a "booming industry" in which Japanese pay $5,000 to $10,000 per fish, Fassler said.

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