Iqoliqoli owners to expand pearl farm

Justin Hunter with Rabesa Rolala, the head of yavusa Yaroi of Yaroi Village in Savusavu. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

Justin Hunter with Rabesa Rolala, the head of yavusa Yaroi of Yaroi Village in Savusavu. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

OWNERS of the iqoliqoli customary rights of two districts in Cakaudrove will soon expand their pearl farming partnership with renowned pearl company J Hunter Pearls.

Plans are afoot to make Wailevu and Nasavusavu districts part of the Private and Public Partnership — a new initiative by J Hunter Pearls owner Justin Hunter with the assistance of the Ministry of Fisheries.

Rabesa Rolala, head of yavusa Yaroi of Yaroi Village, Nasavusavu, described the initiative as one that would financially benefit members of her clan.

“This new partnership with Mr Hunter will increase our opportunities of earning income and will also help us in many ways especially adapting new skills of pearl farming,” she said.

“We started working with Mr Hunter since 2003 and over the years, our relationship has strengthened through the various projects he has helped us with. Since working with Mr Hunter, the pearl farms in our iqoliqoli have become a taboo area where fishing activities had been banned.”

The taboo, she said, had also rewarded iqoliqoli customary rights owners of Yaroi Village.

“The sizes of fish have gone bigger and there are more mussels we can now collect from our iqoliqoli and this had never happened before,” Mrs Rolala said.

In an interview, Mr Hunter said the iqoliqoli owners would be supplied with all materials needed to expand the pearl farms.

He said the villagers would sell the oysters back to his company.