Tuesday, 19 February 2008 9:45 AM

High Demand on Shell Money

The demand on shell money in Solomon Islands is currently very high not just in the country but also abroad.

Traditionally, shell money is used for bride price and the traditional ceremonies but in the modern market, these crafts are commercialized as jewelleries and often gifts for souvenirs.

Within the Solomons, the shell money is known to be originally from Langalanga lagoon in Malaita Province.

Whilst the obvious high demand is good sign for the shell money makers, it has been revealed that shells are running out.

There is growing concern as shell money makers realise the shortage.

Speaking with one woman from Langalanga, Margaret Fulton Waruka told Solomon Times that because of the high demand, "shells are not enough in the lagoon".

"In the past, the people of Langalanga collect shells from the sea but now, they have to buy the shells from Isabel and Western provinces," Mrs. Waruka said.

She said that this however does not solve the problem "because the shortage is being experienced everywhere".

Solomon Times was informed that the shortage is due to "over harvesting" of the shells that produces the shell money.

"People have over the years been harvesting without realizing that by doing so, there will be a gap where the shells won't be available for a period of time," a handicraft exporter explained.

"There is a high possibility that the commercial part of the shell money will not be sustainable until the new shells are matured for harvesting," she said.

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