Akoyas Down Under

Caitlin

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This article is very up to date. Aycee found it. Thanks!

Australians have always been known for their pioneering spirit. Now, a handful of Aussie entrepreneurs are competing with Japan and China to produce the world’s largest, most beautiful akoya pearls.

I thought this part was especially interesting:
What’s more, Williams has discovered a native oyster species that “bridges” the Pinctada maxima — the oyster which produces the larger South Sea pearls — and the Pinctada fucata, the Australian akoya oyster.
“We can produce the same size pearl as the South Sea, but cheaper, and with a nice luster. It can grow up to 12 mm,” Williams says. They discovered the new species by accident, and aren’t even sure precisely how it relates to other native oysters.

spat.jpg



pearls.jpg

TOP: Akoya pearl production starts with spats, or baby oysters, that are suspended on lines in the water.
ABOVE: Australian akoya pearl companies hope to produce quality pearls, such as those seen here. Photos courtesy Port Stephens Pearls. “The species is yet to be clearly identified from a taxonomic viewpoint, and probably needs some serious genetic work for identification. However, we believe it is likely to be mostly aligned with Pinctada maculata,” confirms Kerrod Beattie, acting manager of Aquaculture Policy and Management at the Queensland DPI&F. Pinctada maculata is a species related to the oysters which produce black pearls. “The ‘type’ appears to have some characteristics that lend itself to produce a pearl with excellent coloration, and as the host shell grows relatively large, it appears to be able to produce a large pearl. I suspect that the 12 mm would be the top end of the scale, and only harvested pearls will be able to verify this claim.”
I also thought the school of aquaculture is worth keeping an eye on

Aquaculture scientists at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, have studied the feasibility of akoya farming in Queensland and New South Wales for several years and are cautiously optimistic.
“My understanding is that [Australian akoyas] are at least the equal of Japanese and Chinese akoya. . . . There is considerable scope for developing large-size akoyas here,” says Paul Southgate of Cook’s School of Marine & Tropical Biology. “I think we can safely assume that there will be expansion of akoya production in Australian waters, but in terms of the impacts of these ventures on the overall productivity of akoya pearls, it is difficult to estimate at this stage.”
 
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How interesting! Questions to follow ...

If Akoya oysters can only be nucleated once, but south seas up to 3 times, I wonder how many times this new oyster can be nucleated and what the average harvest number is per oyster. This really is a fast-changing market.
 
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Australian Akoyas

Australian Akoyas

Hi Caitlin,

have you seen or heard any more on this topic? It would be very interesting to know how the success is of trying to get larger Akoyas.
 
This is very interesting. I had heard that Akoyas were starting to be produced just north of Sydney (that would be the Port Stephens reference) - and maybe in Harvey Bay - Queensland. These are not close by one another - maybe 1200 - 1400km or so. James Cook Uni is much further north again. I had also heard that SS were being produced near Sydney - but maybe this new species explains both.. I might try to find out more when I get back from China in a week or so..
 
This is very interesting. I had heard that Akoyas were starting to be produced just north of Sydney (that would be the Port Stephens reference) - and maybe in Harvey Bay - Queensland. These are not close by one another - maybe 1200 - 1400km or so. James Cook Uni is much further north again. I had also heard that SS were being produced near Sydney - but maybe this new species explains both.. I might try to find out more when I get back from China in a week or so..


Yes, please do!
 
I'm not sure it's going to be as smooth - this article was from before the flash flooding in northern NSW occurred last July. There is very little news from the industry. I just hope the farms weren't affected.
 
I have a friend who had a farm at double island north of Cairns. Its probably the same program. I'll see what I can find out about it.
 
Hi everybody:
This is fascinating. And I know it's a little early to be counting our pearls, but, I wonder if the new (so to speak) species will, in addition of course to possibly being able to be re-seeded, be able to produce keishi.

barbie
 
The East Coast sites are reasonably developed although Hervey Bay farm site is up for sale. There are also Akoya's being produced on the West Coast which are fairly new developments. One farmer has swapped from black to Akoya's.
 
I have a friend who had a farm at double island north of Cairns. Its probably the same program. I'll see what I can find out about it.


Double Island North of Cairns? I thought Double Island was much further south along the central Queensland coast - in fact, closer to Hervey Bay? Which would fit with akoyas - I would think north of Cairns you would be looking at Thursday Island and the Torres Strait islands - therefore SS's?
 
I'm not sure it's going to be as smooth - this article was from before the flash flooding in northern NSW occurred last July. There is very little news from the industry. I just hope the farms weren't affected.


True - there were massive seas for about six weeks last July, severely affecting these waters - wonder how the farms went?
 
Double Island North of Cairns? I thought Double Island was much further south along the central Queensland coast - in fact, closer to Hervey Bay? Which would fit with akoyas - I would think north of Cairns you would be looking at Thursday Island and the Torres Strait islands - therefore SS's?

Here is Double Island

http://www.walkabout.com.au/locations/QLDDoubleIsland.shtml

My friend had a tourist pearl farm at Arlington reef. That was basically for show. But they were doing some trial farming off of Double Island some time ago . He sold to another guy and I don't know what happened with it afterwords
 
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Thanks Mikeyy - cool island, looks like a nice place to be...
 
Here are some photo's of 8mm pearls ex Hervey Bay. I have also attached a picture of a 2 yo shell.Pearl Hervey.jpg

Pearl Hervey2.jpg

Pearl Hervey3.jpg

Shell Hervey.jpg
 
Hi George,

thanks for the interesting and lovely photos. I think the nacrethickness is very good, through the surface blemishes I can clearly see that the nacre is quite thick. How long were they in the water before harvesting?
 
Not sure of exact cultivation period but based on information i received I would think around 18months on average.
 
Please note that I made an error. The Hervey Bay site is not for sale but it is the Moreton Bay site which is for sale. My apologies.
 
Here's a few more Aussie Akoya's. 12 month cultivation period (trial harvest) with size around 8mm to 8.5mm
 

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