Pearl farming interest grows

THERE is a widespread interest in Fiji in both privately-owned and public-operated pearl farming activities as well as enhancement and propagation efforts that will boost commercial harvests.

This was revealed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests adding that 45 community-based spat collection sites and six pearl farms will be assisted in the aftermath of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Responding to queries, ministry's public relations officer, Kuini Waqasavou said the ministry's pearl project was facilitating the monitoring of 43 existing community-based spat collection sites and the six pearl farms.

"This project had been established to ensure that people in Fiji have an alternative source of living by utilising their foreshore areas to farm pearl oyster," Mrs Waqasavou said.

The project, she said, involves the collection of spats from the wild, breeding, and farming of oysters to produce black pearls for overseas markets and also the utilising of its shells to produce value-adding commodities as byproducts.

"With the aftermath of TC Winston, the estimated damage costs for the pearl farms are $680,000 to the revival of the 45 community-based farms and assistance to six pearl farms," Mrs Waqasavou said.

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