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For Immediate Release: August 5, 2005                        
NR05 -12


HONOLULU - After an exhaustive International search, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture's Aquaculture Development Program (ADP), announced the hiring of Allen C. Riggs, DVM, as its Veterinary Medical Officer III (aquaculture veterinarian).  Prior to joining ADP, Dr. Riggs was in private practice in Florida as an aquatic animal veterinarian. 
"We are extremely glad to have Dr. Riggs on board," said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  "He brings to the department a wealth of scientific, practical and private sector experience in aquatic veterinary medicine."
Dr. Riggs was heavily involved in providing extension services through the University of Florida to the Florida aquaculture industry and served as Staff Veterinarian in the College of Veterinary Medicine.  He also served as the Veterinary Consultant and Aquarist at the Key West Aquarium.  Dr. Riggs is an avid scuba diver and holds a Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating.

"It is difficult to find aquatic veterinarians of the caliber of Dr. Riggs," said John Corbin, Manager of the HDOA's Aquaculture Development Division.  "We are very fortunate to have him on the ADP staff as he will be a valuable resource in the promotion and expansion of the varied sectors of our aquaculture industry."

"I think he understands the challenges we farmers face and he comes at a key time for our industry," noted Ron Weidenbach, owner of Hawaii Fish Company in Mokuleia and president of the Hawaii Aquaculture Association. "The Hawaii aquaculture industry has seen record growth in recent years and the disease diagnostic work by ADP's disease management program is critical to our industry's continued success."

Commercial aquaculture has been one of Hawaii agriculture's fastest growing commodities for the past two years (2002, 2003 published statistics).  The 2003 value of $27.7 million (farm-gate product value), ranked number 6 in the top 10 diversified Ag commodities.  Aquaculture has three companies in the top 25 of all Hawaii exporters and was awarded the Governors Exporter of the Year Award in 2003 and 2004.  Hawaii aquaculture companies are technology leaders in several areas, including microalgae, marine shrimp broodstock, open ocean aquaculture (submerged cages) and marine aquarium products.


Media contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
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