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The Australian experience: Pearl oyster mortalities and disease problems

Jones, J.B.ORCID: 0000-0002-0773-2007 (2007) The Australian experience: Pearl oyster mortalities and disease problems. In: Bondad-Reantaso, M.G., McGladdery, S.E. and Berthe, F.C.J., (eds.) Pearl Oyster Health Management: A Manual. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, pp. 87-92.


Australian aboriginals were trading pearls long before Europeans "discovered" pearls in Australian waters in 1812. By the end of the nineteenth century, fishing for "mother of pearl" shell and the incidental pearls was well established. The industry was heavily affected by the decline in value of mother of pearl after World War II (WWII). Artificial seeding of pearls (Pinctada maxima) began in Australia in 1956, under agreement with the Japanese and production grew until major mortalities in the 1970s affected industry growth. The mortalities were traced to inadequate management practices resulting in Vibrio harveyi infections and, following improvements to shell handling techniques, mortalities were eliminated. The Pinctada maxima industry in Western Australia and Northern Terrirory is the most valuable in Australia and is heavily regulated. Smaller industries exist in Australia farming non-maxima pearl oysters. Though a range of parasites have been identified in pearl oysters, none have caused serious problems for the industry, however, mortalities in Exmouth Gulf in 2006 with an unknown aetiology have forced changes to industry protocols.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Copyright: © FAO 2007
Publisher's Website:
Other Information: FAO Fisheries Technical Paper; No. 503
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