In 1997-98 I began experimenting with the idea of manufacturing live rock in our facility in Lautoka, Fiji. My goal was to make a rock that was lightweight and porous enough to be able to compete with” Fiji Premium”. Since all live rock was shipped by air freight at that time the weight was a very important consideration at that time of development. In the beginning we started making all of our rock with a hole in the middle. The reason for the hole was simple... we needed it. Through our experiments we discovered that if we just put the rock on the reef it would soon be washed away with the constant movement of the tide and waves. We developed a system of using a wire stretched between two rebar posts and the rock was strung on this wire - thus the need for holes. We have since found better ways to grow out the rock and holes are no longer necessary. We also have discovered that using a colored oxide in the mix helps make the rock look more natural when the coralline starts growing. If we did not use the color the rock would be grey in color (like cement) with coralline here and there and not look natural at all. We now have many thousands of tons growing in the sea at various stages of development and it is hard to tell the difference between our man maid rock and the naturally harvested rock that we call “Fiji Premium”. This product has taken many years to develop and many ideas have been tried to achieve the most natural looking man made rock available.
    In this section you will see some photos and a video showing how this product is produced. You will also see a complete story on the history on the development of this product that was written by me as a chapter in Sven Fossa’s new book. I hope you will agree with me that this rock looks (and performs) as well as the natural harvested rock and contributes significantly to our model of sustainable harvest.

  Some of our 12 cultured rock manufacturing tables in our yard. Finished rock just after coming off the tables. Rock must cure in the sun for at least two weeks before taking out to sea. Cultured rock “curing” in the sun. Rock on the boat ready for the farm. New idea …
5 lb bags for the Nano market.
  One of our happy divers bringing up cultured rock ready for market.. Our finished product … can you tell the difference? Video
"What are we doing about our Live Rock Harvest?"

Walt Smith International Fiji Ltd •  PO BOX 4466  •  Lautoka, Fiji Islands