Pearl Farming - PEARL FARMING Feresa Corazon P Cabrera BS...

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PEARL FARMING Feresa Corazon P. Cabrera BS MarBio 3
HISTORY Pearls were the first gems discovered by man thousands of years ago. Since that time, people of many cultures have recognized the beauty and value of pearls. Pearls are the only organic gems and require no processing to reveal their natural beauty. At first, people relied on the chance finding of natural pearls in a variety of species of marine bivalves and freshwater mussels. Natural pearls are rare as perhaps maybe 1 in 2,000 pearl oysters contain a natural pearl. Prompted by the high value and scarcity of natural pearls, Japanese researchers developed methods that brought pearl production under the control of humans in the early twentieth century. These “cultured pearls” are generally larger and of a more consistent size and color than natural pearls. Producing cultured pearls depends on a surgical procedure called grafting, which entails surgically implanting an artificial nucleus (shell bead) into the tissue of a pearl oyster. The oyster then secretes nacre around the nucleus. After several years of caring for the oysters, the cultured pearls are harvested. The Philippines are a traditional source of natural pearls and shells. The Badjao people are well known for their diving skills and the search for rare natural pearls. The Philippine Pearl Oyster Industry is based primarily on the gold- or silver-lip pearl oyster, Pinctada maxima , along with the winged pearl oyster, Pteria penguin , for round, half-round and three-quarter shells and other shell products (Ladra, 1994; 112 Pearl oyster health management: a manual Ladra, 1997). Pearl export in the country peaked to P869 million in 2007 and was at P541.692 million as of 2008. Pearl is the eight revenue generator in the fishery sector. Unfortunately, its capability to contribute to economic growth in Region 9 and ARMM has been limited despite abundance of pearl oysters in the area. At present, The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has come up with a Pearl Farm Plan (PFP) designed to maintain the Philippines’ position as world’s Top 3 pearl supplier with export that had peaked to P870 million. Most pearl farming activity is located on the island of Palawan, a pristine and thriving ecosystem that offers pearl oysters the nutrients, water quality and shelter they need for healthy growth. Other pearl farms in the country are
found in Surigao, Samar, Sulu, Tawi Tawi, Sorsogon, and Cebu. While there are large players in the culture of marine and freshwater pearl, BFAR is also encouraging small scale investment in the sector. BFAR has targeted Sulu as a prime pearl supplier as pearl is under the investment priority plan of the Department of Trade and Industry and local government unit of Sulu. BASIC BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY OF PEARL OYSTERS Pearl oysters are members of the phylum Mollusca and belong to the class Bivalvia. Bivalve mollusks are distinguished by having two shells (two valves), a soft body with a small foot, a byssal gland and paired gills.

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