A core part of our values at Civa Fiji Pearls is the belief that reinvesting in communities is crucial for mutual long term growth. This means going above and beyond our legal obligations with government bodies and going the extra mile to promote good relations with traditional land and fishing rights owners.
When we began operations 8 years ago we signed a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the traditional owners. Fishing ceased within the farm boundaries in return for compensation, jobs, and training within the local community. An additional benefit is that although fishing grounds are reduced in size local fish stocks increase as a result of the protected area – a great result for communities sourcing fish for food and income from the reefs and oceans.
The long term goal is for communities to gain knowledge of pearl farming processes enabling them to create their own farms in the future should they wish to do so, whilst our own business maintains a minimum impact on their traditional lifestyle.
Four mataqali (Fijian clan or landowning unit) share the benefits of partnership; Viniu, Waisoki, Vunivesi and Lekutu from Bouma District in Taveuni. In total, more than FJ$60,000 has been paid out so far by Civa Fiji Pearls by way of compensation, leases and scholarships.
Expanding Operations and Partnerships
These benefits and profits are now set to be shared wider subsequent to a new MOU signed this week between Civa Fiji Pearls and the Vanua Trust of Laucala. The MOU covers the usage of a new 150 hectare area of water for spat collecting and pearl farm expansion. The agreement secures the long term development of our aquaculture ventures here on Taveuni.
Jone Fifita Rakesa, chairman of the Vanua Trust of Laucala says:
“We have been doing pearl oyster spat collecting for the last two years successfully. This project started very slowly with help from the fisheries department but now is growing out by itself. Partnering with Civa Fiji Pearls Ltd who want to develop the resource in a sustainable manner with us is the way forward. They have good knowledge and are willing to share for the long term benefit of all. We are custodian of this resource and we must, for the sake of our children, develop it while protecting it.”
Sustainable Spat Collection
Spat collecting is the process of collecting natural oyster larvae and rearing them until they are old enough for implanting and pearl production.
The spat collecting site secured by the MOU is one of few spots in the Northern Division consistently producing good quality oysters in high enough quantity. As a result Civa Fiji Pearls can operate sustainable spat collection and not deplete natural reserves.
The oysters will be used at Civa Fiji Pearls’ Wailoa farm, Taveuni, with a first crop of pearls anticipated in 2019.
All of this is further good news for Civa Fiji Pearls after the damage caused by TC Winston:
– our implant shed rebuild is complete
– recent pearl harvest quality is excellent
– the Boutique in Matei is faring well with both locals and tourists
Stay tuned for more news on these and other projects in our pipeline. Until then, thanks for reading and by all means contact us directly with any queries regarding our unique Fiji pearls.
Please note that Pearl Farm Tours are now scheduled to restart in 2017.
The Vanua Trust of Laucala is the legal body representing the 3 Yavusa, namely Nasovu, Qaraniya’u and Naqelelevu. Representatives of each Yavusa make up the Vanua Laucala Trust. One of Trusts’ roles is to work with investors and developers using Qoliqoli and other resources. The Trust oversees one of the largest Qoliqoli areas in Fiji.