23 March, 2018, 12:00 am
WOMEN’S group around Cakaudrove Province will be able support their family now that the major pearl producer, J. Hunter Pearls is now employing members of the women’s group and youth groups around Savusavu at his pearl farm.
Mr Hunter said he worked with more than nine villages in the province of Cakaudrove.
“We employ women’s group and youths by giving them contract works to help with their contribution to the vanua and even to their respective families,” he said.
Mr Hunter said the idea behind their involvement with the rural local people was basically that their environment could be protected.
“In this way the local rural people will take ownership of their environment and not pollute it and this is a best example of blue economy,” he said.
“When we get them to work, they will see the importance of having a safe and clean environment and will later become active supporters of our environment.”
Mr Hunter said rural involvement in pearl farming was another way to raise awareness through villages.
“Pearl farming is described as ecological aquaculture requires pristine water conditions for oysters to produce high quality pearls,” he said.
“A filter feeder by nature with one of the highest clearance rate, the pearl oyster is often referred to as an indicator species that is known to be environmentally sensitive.”
Mr Hunter said any decline in water quality had a direct impact on oyster health resulting in poorer pearl quality and or increased oyster mortality.
“Through the engagement of indigenous communities, their inclusion of local knowledge and inherent governing or institutional structures,” he said.
“The plan provides a model for effective conservation offering tangible economic benefits in return for marine preservation with a long term goal of future generations assuming the role of stewards of the sea.”