Pearl Oyster Propagators - Australia
Domesticating Pinctada maxima

Besides being able to produce a reliable supply of pearl oysters, artificial propagation will allow for the selection of genetically similar individuals which will be produced almost all year-round. Pearl farmers should be able to target on various niche markets by altering the timing for seeding and the size of the nuclei used. This in turn should improve the uniformity and quality of the harvested pearls - in particular their weight, colour, lustre, shape and surface complexion.

Hatchery-produced oysters may very well increase the annual supply of cultivated south sea pearls in the future, but may not adversely affect market conditions. Success may be patterned after that of the edible oyster, prawn and salmon industries. That is: although the price may decrease, the market could very well expand, as more consumers could afford to purchase the product.

Hatchery technology in Australia is still in its infancy. POP is dedicated to the research and development of a "merino" pearl oyster and has been involved in research projects with the Commonwealth Research Centre for Aquaculture (CRC) and Commonwealth Fisheries Research Development Corporation (FRDC). During the course of this research, POP trained and supervised two PhD and two MSc students.


Shell growth and weight gained
after fertilization



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