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Hawaii aquaculture sales slip for second year in a row

Updated: 
October 24, 2017 - 5:34pm

HONOLULU — Hawaii aquaculture farms generated slightly less revenue last year, marking a second annual consecutive dip after a 2014 record.

A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week said the value of farm-raised marine animals sold by producers statewide slipped 0.7 percent last year to $75.7 million from $76.2 million the year before.

The record was $78.2 million in 2014. That high represented a 40 percent spike over industry sales of $55.7 million in 2012, according to the department, which did not produce a report in 2013 because data were not comparable.

Last year, farms that raise marine algae largely to produce nutritional supplements increased sales by 1.6 percent to $34.3 million from $33.8 million the year before.

Revenues from other segments of the local aquaculture industry that include shellfish, finfish and ornamental fish weren’t disclosed individually because doing so could enable competitors to discern sales for specific companies.

Animals raised by farms based on land or in the ocean around the state include shrimp, oysters, moi, tilapia, kampachi, koi, angelfish and more.

The report, which is based on a survey of aquaculture businesses carried out with assistance from the state Department of Agriculture, shows that overall this part of agriculture in Hawaii is in a stable phase after much growth.

“Aquaculture sales have been holding steady after a record high in 2014,” the report said.

In 2012 there were about 70 aquaculture farms. But the report hasn’t included a farm count since then. One relatively new data point in the report is the number of peak workers in the industry, which increased to 500 last year from 406 the year before.

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