Bruce Anderson

Chris Fleck
Wednesday - October 26, 2011
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Photo courtesy Bruce Anderson

Applying more than 20 years of experience in environmental protection, Bruce Anderson has been managing a delicious new weekend hobby that has the potential to become a sustainable and profitable aquaculture venture.

Raising oysters in Moli’i fishpond has brought pleasure to both Anderson and wife Debbie, who were approached about the idea of revitalizing the fishpond by John Morgan, president of Kualoa Ranch, where the fishpond is located.

“We tried the idea of introducing fish, but we found that predators like barracuda and ulua ate them too quickly, so the idea of oysters came up,” says Anderson, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover Feb. 16, 1994, when he was the deputy director of the state Department of Health.

With the high quality of water, Anderson knew that oysters could be raised in Moli’i fishpond, so he began working with Taylor Shellfish Farms on the Big Island, receiving hundreds of thousands of oyster spats, which are oysters in their larval stages.

“We started using traditional growing techniques and observed extraordinary growth rates. We started getting remarkable oysters in six months, where they may have taken more than two years on the Mainland to grow,” says Anderson, who is primarily raising Pacific oysters and sterile Triploid oysters, which grow very heartily because they don’t expend energy on reproduction.

But, in order for Anderson’s oyster explorations to flourish substantially, he must wait on approvals from the state and national level. First, the FDA has to train a sanitation program staff to monitor the waters and a laboratory needs to be certified for continual monitoring of water samples from the pond.

“Things are coming together, but it is going to take time. We are ready, and most of the restaurants I have brought the oysters to have raved about them,” says Anderson, who is expecting a visit from the FDA in late November.

As for Monday through Friday, Anderson now serves as president and chief executive officer for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, which is the state community hospital system consisting of 13 facilities across Hawaii, providing health care to most rural communities.

“We are the fourth-largest public health system in the country and have about 4,000 employees. I oversee the corporate office and provide support throughout the regions of the system across the state,” he explains.

A primary initiative for Anderson is the implementation and establishment of an electronic medical records system, a project he feels would dramatically improve the quality of care HHSC currently provides.

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