HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 590: 16 November 2011

Cabinet approval for one million dollar China grant for pearl farming equipment
Tuesday 15 November – Minister of Marine Resources and Pearls the Hon Teina Bishop has received the support of Cabinet to utilise one million dollars from the Chinese grant funds to purchase floats and ropes to stimulate pearl production in Manihiki.
Accompanying Minister Bishop to the P.R China to review the merits of this cooperation was Tina Browne, Chairperson of the Cook Islands Pearl Authority and Ben Ponia, Secretary of Marine Resources.
The P.R China is the world’s main producer of pearls and produces around 1,500 metric tonnes per year. In comparison the Cook Islands is thought to produce around 200 kg.
The Ministerial delegation toured sites including the Shanghai Ocean University where many pearl researchers are based, the pearl “city” in Shanxiahu where about 70 percent of the freshwater pearls are traded and factory which manufactures fishing and pearl aquaculture equipment. At Shantou the delegation visited a large pearl farm.
Says Secretary Ponia “the state of the pearl production in Manihiki continues in a downward spiral, it is time to look at all options available to Government and bring as much relief as soon as possible to the pearl farmers”
“The consequences of letting the industry continue its demise is having a profound impact on the people of Manihiki”, says Ponia.
“It is crucial that Government acts now to halt the continued exit of farmers from the industry and people from the island”, added Chairperson Browne.
MMR and CIPA have a production target to raise the level of farming in Manihiki from 600,000 thousand oysters to 1.2 million oysters.
Part of strategy includes utilising the harmonised New Zealand/Australia aid program to establish a credit facility to facilitate access to finance and stimulate operational cash flows.
The injection of farming equipment via the China grant is seen as an added boost.
It is thought that there may be some synergies which could be developed alongside the current fisheries cooperation as well, for example to utilise the Chinese fishing vessels to deliver the equipment as a goodwill gesture.
- MMR Media Release

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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