The clean-up activity, the last phase of the Cook Islands Pearl Industry Revitalisation Programme was announced to the public in February.
The project includes removing old and abandoned pearl farming material from the lagoon.
In a statement, the Finance and Economic Management ministry’s Development Coordination Division (DCD) confirmed Pacific Divers Ltd had been awarded the contract.
DCD appointed Raymond Newnham as the project manager.
DCD says that along with MFEM, Manihiki Island Government and the Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR), they are continuing their established working relationship with Newnham of Ora Moana Ltd and the contractor, Pacific Divers Ltd.
“Latest developments include the establishment of the pit site where debris is being disposed of from the clean-up work and the operational base is now fully functional.
“Due to some delays in shipping schedules, all procurement and shipping of equipment for the project was completed as of March 20.”
As part of the project, training was also carried out by the contractor on Manihiki.
The training which includes PADI open water course, skills review, PADI advanced course, first aid training including CPR, emergency oxygen provider course and basic rescue skills lesson – how to surface and egress an unconscious diver from the water, was completed during the last two weeks of March.
“For the duration of the project, seven divers and one operator has been recruited. Public notifications on planned areas for work are provided to local residents and the MIG by the contractor.
“This includes the general area of operations for the following week and a list of the farm numbers to be worked on.”
DCD says debris removed up to the end of last month totals 2381.5kg including around 1670 metres of line and 220 floats.
“There were some delays in shipping equipment to Manihiki, which has extended the completion date of the project to August 11.”
The Manihiki Island government continues to be the point of contact for farmers who were listed.
DCD, MFEM and Pacific Divers will provide online photo updates for the duration of the project on their Facebook pages.