Developing pearl industry-based livelihoods in the western Pacific

Project code
AUD 2,264,620
Research program manager
Prof Ann Fleming
Project leader
Paul Southgate - National Fisheries Authority
Commissioned organisation
National Fisheries Authority
SEP 2015
JUN 2021
Project status
Legally committed/Active
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This project aimed to increase resilience, productivity, community engagement and livelihood opportunities from pearl farming in Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

Improving economic and livelihood opportunities is a high priority for the western Pacific community. 

Pearl farming in the region is currently under-developed, but progress in the industry will benefit coastal communities, increasing their resilience, productivity and community engagement. Traditional lifestyles in Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea are compatible with collecting and growing juvenile oysters, producing half-pearls and creating mother-of-pearl handicraft items - key pearl industry activities.

This collaborative ACIAR research project focused on sustainable production and maximises community participation and economic benefits.

Project outcomes

  • Greater industry and community capacity for sustainable culture of pearl oysters in the partner countries and the western Pacific. 
  • Increased export income due to expansion of pearl industry. 
  • Greater opportunity for individuals and community groups to participate in pearl culture and associated activities. 
  • Improved livelihood opportunities for women and young people. 
  • Potential uptake of research findings by the Australian pearling industry.
Key partners
James Cook University
Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries, Tonga
Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, Fiji
National Fisheries Authority, Papua New Guinea
fact sheet placeholder image
Fact sheet FIS/2014/060