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Ministry: Fiji Pearl Oyster Development Plan Underway

The development of a collaborative road map to foster the sustainable and equitable development of our pearl farming industry was the main focus of the industry’s stakeholders yesterday. A two-day
24 Oct 2017 11:00
Ministry: Fiji Pearl Oyster Development Plan Underway
Pearl aquaculture industry stakeholders at the consultation meeting for the development of the Fiji Pearl Oyster Development Plan 2017-2022 on October 23, 2017. Photo: Monica Aguilar

The development of a collaborative road map to foster the sustainable and equitable development of our pearl farming industry was the main focus of the industry’s stakeholders yesterday.

A two-day meeting began to formulate a Fiji Pearl Oyster Development Plan.

The meeting was facilitated by the Ministry of Fisheries with the support of the Pacific Community (SPC).

Ministry of Fisheries permanent secretary Sanaila Naqali said the plan should set the direction for the sustainable development of the industry.

“There are clearly a few sub-sectors of the pearl farming industry in Fiji which needs to be incorporated as separate entities within the plan, and it is Government’s role to treat all entities and also play the role of facilitator, negotiator, problem-solver and regulator,” said Mr Naqali.

Founder of JHunter Pearls in Savusavu, Justin Hunter said it is important to maintain the position of Fijian pearls as a luxury gem in global markets.

MR Hunter said: “Customers are increasingly conscious of ethical and sustainability issues behind their purchases.  Pearls are by definition a sustainable gem because, unlike gemstones which are mined from the earth, pearls grow by natural processes within oysters living in pristine waters.

“Fiji’s waters are a perfect place for pearl culture, and marine stewardship is needed to keep them that way.”

The Ministry of Fisheries, in collaboration with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), in Fiji had assisted the Ministry and other partners in the development of the pearl farming industry, Spat Collection Programme and the enterprise development of Mabe Pearls and Mother of Pearl Handicraft.

The Government, through the Ministry of Fisheries and other agencies intends to cooperate with stakeholders in the pearl aquaculture industry and with communities to integrate with locally managed marine areas (LMAs) and coastal and land management programs.

Director of Fisheries, Aiskae Batibasaga, said adding the community element to generate equitable livelihoods is seen as a vital part of any sustainable industry.

Fiji co-hosted with Sweden the United Nation World Oceans Conference held in New York on 5-9 May, and made a number of Voluntary Commitments to contribute towards sustainable marine resources use.



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