Environmental Impacts of Pearl Farming

Wayne A. O'Connor*, Scott P. Gifford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Mollusc culture and pearl culture in particular, are considered to have a low potential for environmental impact. However, there have been substantial adverse impacts in the pearl farming regions of Japan and China over some decades and the potential remains for adverse environment impacts from pearl farming industries. Unregulated pearl development in China has and will continue to affect the surrounding environment. The Australian pearl industries based on Pinctada maxima and other species have assessed environmental risks and have developed environmental management plans. At workshops held in 2001 and 2004, the P. maxima industry and community stakeholders identified the following "moderate grade" environmental risks to be the greatest facing the industry, and began to address them: water quality loss from the chemical treatment of vessel sewage, water quality loss from hydrocarbon spills, introduction of disease from seeding, introduction of exotic organisms, and attraction of other fauna. Well-managed pearl production requires few chemicals and the heightened awareness of the impacts of those that are used reduces the associated risks. This is also balanced by a greater understanding of the industry by legislators, which has increased the relevance of legislated controls. The esthetic impacts of all aquaculture ventures including pearl culture will require careful management to avoid community conflict. The geographical isolation of many farms will assist in this regard while other visual and noise impacts can be ameliorated through appropriate management protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Pearl Oyster
Subtitle of host publicationA Beginner's Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction
EditorsPaul C. Southgate, John S. Lucas
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, London
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9780444529763
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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