Savusavu ‘Blue Economy’ Pearl Hatchery Launched

  Fiji’s Pearl Industry has a bright future after the J. Hunter Pearls (JHP) opened a new $160,000 hatchery and research laboratory as part of its “blue economy” project in
09 Oct 2018 10:00
Savusavu ‘Blue Economy’ Pearl Hatchery Launched
From left: Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau, The Pacific Community (SPC) chief advisor Patricia Sachs-Cornish, programme officer for natural resources and governance for the European Union’s delegation to Fiji and the Pacific Marta Brignone and J. Hunter Pearls founder Justin Hunter during the launch of the hatchery in Savusavu on October 8, 2018. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka


Fiji’s Pearl Industry has a bright future after the J. Hunter Pearls (JHP) opened a new $160,000 hatchery and research laboratory as part of its “blue economy” project in Savusavu yesterday.

Apart from contributions by other organisations, J. Hunter Pearls Fiji founder Justin Hunter invested $40,000 in the project.

The hatchery can cater for 4.5 million larva and will boost the business of J. Hunter Pearls, putting them back on track after millions of oysters were destroyed during Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.

Minister of Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau said with the introduction of the blue economy project, there will be an increase in the production of pearls.

“We know that Fiji’s waters offer pristine conditions for the production of pearls, but there are low numbers of naturally occurring pearls,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

“J. Hunter Pearls has proved that we can overcome his hurdle through the precise management of hatchery.

“Precise because it has requires strictly quality control, laboratory skills, management of algae, with high risks of contamination which can cause high losses of stock and revenue.”

The minister also commended Mr Hunter for the initiative.


Pearl sector development

“This hatchery has all of the ingredients for success-technical experts with Mr Hunter and his team, a laboratory to manage quality and algae production, and the infrastructure to protect it,” he said.

“But most importantly for the pearl sector’s development, this hatchery has the capacity to support pearl development throughout Fiji.

“Nothing that this establishment is a private entity, its important to recognise the efforts Mr Hunter plays in championing environment protection, community development, the blue economy, and representing Fiji on the global stage.”

Mr Koroilavesau said the Fijian Government is committed to support such initiatives focused on community development and marine conservation.

He said pearl offers a complementary and sustainable process, adding that the pearl industry can be an important contributor to adaption and mitigation to achieve the goals of Fiji’s COP23 responsibilities.

“The Fiji Pearl industry is fortunate to have a company within the private sector with so much potential and expertise, which is focused on community development and marine conservation,” he said.

“There is great opportunity within this hatchery.

“Oysters produced can be supplied to communities, who would in turn nurture their growth within their own community managed marine protected area.

“This proposed arrangement in a circular ‘blue economy’ which benefit all parties and more importantly the marine economy.”


NGO view

Pacific Community (SPC) advisor Patricia Sachs-Cornsih said the project was developed  by the Pacific Community and European Union delegations to assist the commercial trade and especially of export trades.

She said the value of support from the two organisations was $120,000.

“J. Hunter Pearls was supported with the building materials from local suppliers the tanks, pumps, bioreactors, laboratory equipments from Australia and America and spat lines from China, which cannot be brought locally,” Ms Sachs-Cornish said.

“This project is an incredibile initiative  for Fiji’s pearl industry and this means that the hatchery and laboratory to be catalyst for growth.

“This research and laboratory has resulted in additional investment and the development of opportunities for the community.

“Mr Hunter has not only created jobs, but is an advocator, but he is a fervent advocator for community involvement and sustainable production for community involvement.”


Mr Hunter comments

Commenting on the launch, Mr Hunter said although the term “blue economy” had been used in different ways, it was understood as comprising the range of economic sectors and related policies that together determined whether the use of oceanic resources was sustainable.

“An important challenge of the blue economy is thus to understand and better manage the many aspects of oceanic sustainability,” stated the submission,” he said.

“A second significant issue is the realisation that the sustainable management of ocean resources requires collaboration across nation-states and across the public-private sectors, and on a scale that has not been previously achieved.

“They worked closely with United Nations Oceans Conference and the other philanthropy groups.

“Ultimately, it’s a model town we would love to see replicated not only across Fiji but our island brothers and sisters.

“The setting of the model draw in major funding from the United Nations and other conservation philanthropy groups who are willing to assist the project.”


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