Born to an American father and Fijian mother, Justin Hunter grew up in the small town of Savusavu in Fiji where his love for island life and the ocean began. Moving to the United States as a young man Justin completed his high school education and university in Washington State. After completing his marine science degree Justin began working for his family business, Taylor Shellfish, focusing on rearing edible oysters in Washington State and Hawaii.
At an aquaculture conference held in Sydney, Australia in 1998 Justin and cousin Paul Taylor attended a presentation by Fiji’s Ministry of Fisheries on the potential for a new aquaculture industry; pearl farming in Fiji. This presentation was to change the course of his life and see him return home a year later with a dream of creating some of the most unique coloured pearls found in the world today.
With over 10 years experience in the oyster industry, and the support of the Taylor family, Justin returned to his hometown of Savusavu in 1999 to begin building his dream. Aware of the obstacles pearl farmers in Fiji had faced before him Justin began implementing bold new pearl farming techniques and establishing vital relationships with the local villages that would see him become a pioneer in the pearling industry in Fiji and establish Fiji Pearls as a global brand to be admired by pearlers around the world.
Justin’s dream did not end with growing the world’s best pearls. His goal was to blend pearl farming with Fiji’s natural environment and its indigenous people to create a working partnership. Justin is intensely committed to keeping the marine environment of Savusavu Bay in its pristine condition and to developing the pearl industry in Fiji by working closely with emerging pearl farmers.
J. Hunter Pearls Fiji provides much needed jobs for local people, which gives them the resources to improve their villages and their lives. Justin’s commitment also includes providing school scholarships to deserving students and to be personally involved with developing the Savusavu community at large.