Japan Pearl Farming Hit by Mass Death of Akoya Oysters

Politics Society

Uwajima, Ehime Pref., Oct. 28 (Jiji Press)--The mass mortality of Akoya pearl oysters that occurred in Ehime, Mie and other prefectures in Japan this summer is expected to negatively impact Japan's pearl production in 2021 and beyond.

The cause of the latest mass mortality event is still unclear, but oyster producers have started taking measures to minimize the damage to the pearl culture process.

It takes three to four years to produce a cultured pearl, which is made by a live oyster after layers of nacre become deposited around a tiny bead inserted into its shell.

Ehime Prefecture, the largest producer of Akoya pearl oysters in Japan, started to see the mass death of oysters in late July. At the end of September, the number of young shellfish being cultured in the prefecture stood at about 11 million, down nearly 70 pct from an average year.

It is the first mass mortality of Akoya pearl oysters in Japan since 1996, according to Takeshi Miura, professor at the Faculty of Agriculture of Ehime University.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press