Brackish water Pearl Farming


New Member
Oct 28, 2011
I would be greatly thankful if you could answer my doubt stated below.

Can Salt water pearl oysters be cultivated in brackish waters, adjoining the sea?

What do you mean by brackish?

Salt water pearls are grown in pure seawater as far as I know, and that is where they grow naturally. Some sea water has more fresh water mixed into it. Such as in Bahrain in the Persian gulf there, I have heard references that the springs of freshwater in the Gulf dilute the salt water, but I don't think the pearls grow in the more brackish parts.
We have a couple of members, the Lowies who are growing pearls in a rivery setting:I have no idea how salty the water is.

What example are you thinking of?
I would be greatly thankful if you could answer my doubt stated below.

Can Salt water pearl oysters be cultivated in brackish waters, adjoining the sea?


Your doubt is well placed. The short answer is no. The whole brackish water thing is just an underhanded marketing ploy to hoodwink people in buying cheap dyed freshwater pearls.
Is this all part of the same issue? Kartha, did you see the other thread on brackish water from a couple of days ago?

Freshwater pearls certainly do not grow in brackish water. What we saw in photos in another thread was freshwater pearls. That was certainly a market ploy-passing off freshwater pearls as "brackish water pearls". Freshwater mollusks do not tolerate salt. Unfortunately there is an industry untruthfully passing freshwater pearls off as every other kind of pearl.

Brackish water always sounds like it is dirty water, but brackish really means reduced salinity average from ocean water. So the question for a pearl scholar is how much can you reduce salinity and not kill the mollusks? For that matter, how salty can the ocean water be and still have live mollusks?

Still, anyone using "grown in brackish water" as a sales point, is lying. There is no benefit in growing any mollusk in brackish water. This "pearls from brackish water" one is October's "sales de jour" fantasy. I hope you did not buy them.
Thanks everyone for your valuable inputs. i am a fresher into this industry and trying to collect some information from people who are already into this business. I am planning to start a pearl farm. I just wanted to know whether salt water pearl farming is possible in brackish water. so i guess I'll have to stick with fresh water pearl farming.
Wendy, i am from India.

There is a limit to how much Pinctada Maxima can take being out of it's comfort zone. This is not a boundary we are trying to pusue, however they are capable of locking themselves up if things are not right. Where we are located, despite the wet season run-off, the shell are doing fine, there is fresh water in the out going tide but it tends to be in the top two meters and the shell in the baskets tend to be closed during the strong currents anyway.
Remember that they are just sitting there with nothing else to do, so why not just lock up for a bit.
All that said though, Fresh water will kill them so there is a balancing act. I've may-be contradicted myself there but theres nothing new to that.
Good question Kartha.
Regards, Rusty
Thanks for your answer! I figured you would know by practical experience as few others would have!

There is only disadvantage in trying to grow any kind of pearl oyster in brackish water because they can die so easily. There is no advantage.

Kartha- Will you be the only cultured freshwater pearl operation in India? I think it is a great idea! But you have to learn a lot of basics before you throw some mussels in a ditch full of (non-brackish) water to grow pearls! Please let us know how this worthy dream progresses!
Kartha I was in India in the Andaman's this past February helping a government funded pearl farm get off the ground. Your Pinctada margaritifera look very similar to the Pinctada mazatlanica I have seen in Mexico, smaller than ours and gold in color with some very nice pastels. Please do keep us informed about your journey! Many of us are interested. :)