Pearl farming is the main economic activity of many atolls and islands of French Polynesia and Cook Islands. However, it remains fragile. Among the weakest links is the ability to predict the effectiveness of pearl oyster spat collection. The issue depends on the life cycle of the oyster populations and the hydrodynamics of the lagoons.
The project focuses on better understanding and modeling these aspects for lagoons with different aperture to the ocean.
The MANA project will contribute to a better management of pearl farming activity in atolls and islands of French Polynesia and Cook Islands.
Pearl farming concerns about forty atolls and islands of the Central Pacific Ocean. The management of their lagoons requires constant adjustments to available biological data (e.g., stocks of pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera, spat collection, lagoon trophic capacity), decision making on lagoon occupation (e.g., maritime concessions, conflicting activities) and present or future natural hazards (e.g., mortalities, climatic events).
Consequently, the tools to be put in place should help managers for all of these aspects, and for a maximum of representative lagoons.
The tools that MANA will have to implement with partners in charge of management in their countries concern the prediction of spat collection according to different climatic and demographic scenarios, the management of the pearl oyster stock (wild and farmed), and finally the management of the lagoon space occupied by with various activities.
The originality and strength of the project is based on the use of spatial information provided by lagoon hydrodynamic and biogeochemical models, which have been developed and validated over the last decade for closed to semi-open lagoons, but not yet for open lagoons.
Study sites are Ahe, Mangareva, Manihiki, Mopelia, Raroia, Takapoto, Takaroa et Takume.