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Economics of Pearl Farming


  • Clem Tisdell

    (University of Queensland [Brisbane])

  • Bernard Poirine

    (Gouvernance et développement insulaire - GDI - Gouvernance et développement insulaire - UPF - Université de la Polynésie Française)


The pearl oyster industry has experienced substantial economic change particularly in the last 50 years or so. It has been transformed from an industry dependent solely on wild catch to one that depends mainly on the culture of oysters, either taken from the wild, then seeded and cultured (a form of ranching), or on oysters raised in hatcher-ies and then grown out (see Chapter 7). Moreover, the industry's structure has altered due partly to market developments and new technologies and the spread of knowledge about techniques for culturing pearls. In this chapter, the market structure of the industry is discussed and related to new technologies, differences in the industry's socioeconomic impacts are explored, sources of market supply are considered and features involved in the marketing of pearls are given particular attention. Most, but not exclusive attention, is given to the experiences of the Australian and French Polynesian pearl industries. Australia is the major global producer of the South Sea pearls and French Polynesia is the main global supplier of Tahitian black pearls (see Chapter 9). According to Love and Langenkamp (2003) , South Sea pearls obtained from Pinctada maxima and Tahitian black pearls, derived from Pinctada margaritifera together account for about a half of the world market by value. Japanese Akoya pearls and Chinese freshwater pearls, produced from mussels, each supply about a quarter of the world market by value. Twenty-fi ve years ago, Japanese Akoya pearls supplied 90% of the value of the world market. However, Japan no longer dominates the global pearl s0010 s0010 p0010 p0010 p0020 p0020 p0030 p0030

Suggested Citation

  • Clem Tisdell & Bernard Poirine, 2008. "Economics of Pearl Farming," Post-Print halshs-01141429, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01141429
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tisdell, Clement A. & Poirine, Bernard, 1998. "Socio-Economics of Pearl Culture: Industry Changes and Comparisons focusing on Australia and French Polynesia," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers 47952, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    2. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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