Govt. raises awareness about value of trochus shells
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has moved to raise awareness about the value of trochus (aliao) shells among young people and women in Samoa.
The Fisheries Division conducted a workshop for Upolu at the Fisheries office in Apia from Wednesday to Friday for this purpose.
The training was designed to help the participants use the right machineries to polish the inner pearly nacre of the trochus shells.
One of the teachers at Laumua o Punaoa Technical and Creative Centre, Motu Siaki, said that he never knew that the trochus shell was valuable.
“The workshop has taught me that the trochus shell can be used to create jewellery,” he said.
The 27-year-old from Toamua said that the shells can be transformed into earrings and necklaces which can fetch expensive prices.
“I want to learn the skills to create earrings and necklaces from the shells because it seems our people do not utlise these available materials.
“The workshop is of great assistance for awareness and it gives us a sense of financial means.
A representative from the Fagali'i women’s Committee, Puttyapuitoa Taylor
“The trochus species are often used for its meat but the shell is discarded.
“However, we have been told that its value is around $50 in Samoa but overseas countries the shell is valued around USD $60.
“I wish to learn the skills and share it with other women in our village so we can all come together to use these shells to earn some form of income.”
Representatives from selected village communities as well as Institutions such as the Laumua o Punaoa Technical and Creative Centre, Don Bosco, Leulumoega Fou Fine-Art and the National University of Samoa took part in the workshop.
The Trochus (Rochia nilotica) was introduced to Samoa for more than 20 years.
According to a statement from the Fisheries division, it stated that the trochus fishery seemed successful yet there was a lack of knowledge and capacity to utilize both the meat and shell to maximize income for the Samoans.
“Therefore, one of the aims of this project was to build capacity in value adding of trochus shells in Samoa to reveal the potential for exporting trochus sustainably.
“At the end of the workshop, participants will acquire good understanding and skills on the know-how to make handicrafts such as necklaces, earrings, key rings and many more from pieces of the trochus shells.
“The trochus shell jewelry making and shell polishing constitutes as a form of livelihood diversification that could potentially increase income generation by adding value to the shell.”
The workshop is one of the activities under the project “Reef colonization and socioeconomic impacts from trochus translocations to Samoa.” The project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (A.C.I.A.R.) in Australia.