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Commitment To Save Our Pearls

Commitment To  Save Our Pearls
J Hunter Pearls.
June 16
11:00 2017

The Fiji Pearl Development Plan proposes to co-operate with all relevant stakeholders in the development of a national, community-based, pearl farming industry.

This will enhance the effectiveness of locally managed marine areas, integrated coastal management, and land and sea management programs, while also creating meaningful employment and income generating opportunities for communities involved in pearl farming.

The voluntary commitment was made during the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York last week.

According to the voluntary commitment documents, the Fiji Pearl Association (FPA) represents locally owned Pearling Companies in Fiji that have been acknowledged throughout the international jewelry sector, not only for the production of unique, high-quality Fiji Pearls, but also their corporate social and environmental practices.

Fiji Pearl Farm Association members have invested significant resources over the last 16 years in research, hatchery development and marketing Fiji Pearls both internationally and locally.

“The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) represents national jewellery trade organisations and commercial industry bodies of more than 40 countries.

“CIBJO is affiliated with the United Nations, having special consultative status in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2006 and being a member of the UN Global Compact since that same year,” the commitment documents state.

According to McKinsey and Co., the jewellery industry has estimated annual global sales of US$200 billion (F$412.59bn)and is expected to grow between 5-6 per cent each year, totalling US$250bn (F$515.74bn) by 2020.

CIBJO wants to ensure social and environmental sustainability are at the heart of the Pearl Industry, and Fiji can be the first country to accept these principles.

Pearl farming is often described as ecological aquaculture and oysters require pristine water conditions to produce high quality pearls.

The Fijian Pearl Oyster is officially classified as an indicator species and is well known to be environmentally sensitive.

This is a result of the nature of its filter feeding. Any decline in water quality, therefore, has a direct impact on the oysters health, and reduces the quality of the pearl that is produced.

These proposed village based pearl-farming communities, with their local knowledge and inherent governing (or institutional) structures, will become the stewards of our oceans, as the success of their pearling operations is highly dependent on the preservation of farming conditions.

These community-owned pearl farms provide opportunities for coastal villages, especially for woman and young people, to seek employment and build capacity.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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