J. Hunter Pearls Fiji has been producing high quality pearls with ‘distinctive hues’ since early 2000, and made Fiji pearls a sought after brand. The owner, Justin Hunter works closely with local communities in Vanua Levu, providing jobs for local communities. Pearl oysters are filter feeders, requiring clear pristine waters to grow and thrive. They can filter about 1400 litres of water a day capturing plankton (small microscopic animals in the water column) and other small particles. In other words, oysters clean seawater, keeping bays like Savusavu healthy!
Over the next three years, the Wildlife Conservation Society, is partnering J. Hunter Pearls Fiji and the Pacific Community (SPC) to support 2‒3 community-managed pearl oyster farms in Cakaudrove Province on the island of Vanua Levu.
The project will be exploring ways to engage women fishers in the industry, while enhancing the effectiveness of their locally managed marine areas. We will work with the local community to ensure land uses do not impact water quality in their customary fishing grounds, to maintain the waters needed for producing high quality pearls. WCS will work closely with J. Hunter Pearls Fiji, SPC and the communities to develop business plans to ensure equitable distribution of benefits that will cover future costs of wages, new pearl shell stock, and any other priority community development activities.
The pearl farming industry is an opportunity to provide non-extractive and environmentally friendly livelihoods for local communities in Fiji.
This work is funded by the Blue Action Fund.