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PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (September 12, 2002, 2002 – Tahitipresse)---French Senate President Christian Poncelet examined cultured pearl and fish breeding operations at the Tuamotu atolls of Rangiroa, Hao and Nengo Nengo on Sept. 10 as part of his official visit to French Polynesia.

After a traditional welcome to Rangiroa, Poncelet toured the French Polynesia government’s nacre and pearl farming training center, which has been in operation since 1991. More than 150 pearl grafters have received diplomas from this center, earning a reputation for being equal to the best Japanese and Chinese grafters.

During his visit to Hao, Poncelet met Jean-Jacques de Peretti, the former French overseas secretary who now is developing the atoll’s economy for the French Polynesian government. Hao, the former forward base for the French Pacific Nuclear Testing Center, has a special fiscal status designed to attract investors.

The French Senate president, the French State’s No. 2 post, met with two potential Japanese investors who are completing a study on that could lead to the opening of a tuna breeding farm on Hao, a potential US$ 16.8 million project.

Poncelet discovered more about Tahiti’s rich cultured pearl farming industry with a visit to the atoll of Nengo Nengo, the location of one of the biggest pearl farms in French Polynesia. It produces some 400,000 top quality Tahitian cultured pearls yearly.

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse.

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