6 Jul 2007

Marshalls only commercial black pearl farm shuts down

8:24 am on 6 July 2007

After more than a decade of work to establish a viable black pearl industry in the Marshall Islands, the pioneering aquaculture company has shut down.

Robert Reimers Enterprises chief executive officer Ramsey Reimers says that his company was forced to shut down its pearl farm on Jaluit, after mounting financial losses.

He says the private company couldn't do it alone, and over the years has had to subsidize the operation from its other business but this is no longer feasible.

A manager at the Marine Resources Authority said the government shared in the blame for the company's closure.

In the early 1980s, the company became one of the first in the Pacific region to invest in growing clams, which is now a booming export industry to the U.S and European markets.