Western Australia Becoming a Pearl Center

Western Australia Becoming a Pearl Center

WA'S pearl producing and retailing prominence has been boosted by new shopfronts in Perth and what may become a new pearling industry off Geraldton.

Last week the State Government announced that a four year trial had identified high quality Akoya pearl production in the Abrolhos Islands, about 60 kilometres off Geraldton, as having strong commercial potential.

“What had been learned from monitoring the growth and performance of the trial shells during the project will help industry to identify the best management practices at various sites to benefit different stages of pearl culture,” Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said.

“This will in turn reduce culture costs and further enhance pearl values.

“The project demonstrates the benefits of collaboration between pearl producers, scientists and specialists who combined to achieve these outcomes.”

The four-year $686,064 research project, established by industry in 2007 to examine the technical feasibility and economic viability of Akoya pearl production, was funded by the Australian Government through the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

Japan, which previously held the largest Akoya market, is slowing production and China is rapidly becoming a major producer of low cost Akoya pearls.

As such, Mr Moore said there was a commercial opportunity for larger, higher quality pearls to be produced in the Abrolhos area.

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