Technical Assistance for Pearl Jewellery Training in the Marshall Islands
Monday, 14 March 2011 09:41

By Simon Ellis and Dr. Maria Haws

From November 23-29th 2010 a pearl jewellery and marketing training was held in the RMI. The primary sponsor of the workshop was the Marshall Islands Marine Resource Authority (MIMRA) with technical and financial assistance from the University of Hawaii Hilo (UHH) – Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (PACRC), the Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei (MERIP) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).



Other partners in the work were the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) and the communities of Rongelap and Namdrik atolls. Both these communities have been developing Black pearl farming at a community level and this was the first harvest of pearls for both communities.  

Training was conducted by Dr. Maria Haws and Simon Ellis who are both faculty member at the (UHH-PACRC). Simon Ellis is also director of MERIP, an NGO based in the FSM that promotes sustainable aquaculture in the region. Haws and Ellis have a combined experience of over 30 years in pearl farming development in the region. Orders for jewellery settings and tools were handled through MERIP. Co-funding for the workshop in the amount of $6500 was provided by the UHH-PACRC program and MIMRA provided in-kind support in the form of the use of their conference room for the training and on the ground assistance from MIMRA personnel Florence Edwards and Darren Nakata.  

Following the training, the communities organized a pearl auction and sale the following week on December 3rd and 4th, 2010. Combined sales from the events raised $31,000 to go toward further pearl farming development on Rongelap and Namdrik atolls. In total, 15 individuals participated in the training. Valuable exposure to the industry was also gained MIMRA technical staff.