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A word about dive safety and pearl farming

A word about dive safety and pearl farming

pearls cultivation
pearls cultivation

wholesale pearlsThe most hazardous part of pearl farming is the frequent need to make multiple deep dives. Most of the diving done on a pearl farm, especially when setting up the farm, are bounce dives. Bounce dives are those dives where a diver descends and then immediately ascends, for example, when tying an anchor line to the bottom of the lagoon. Bounce dives can easily lead to decompression syndrome (DCS, also known as “the bends”) because the diver has a tendency to ascend rapidly and to make several of these types of dives in rapid succession without taking sufficient time at the surface (surface interval) to release nitrogen from his or her body.
Article source: The Basic Methods of Pearl Farming, Author: A Layman’s ManualMaria Haws, Ph.D. (Director, Pearl Research and Training Program, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720 USA, Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Publication No. 127, March 2002)
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How to setup the Pearls farm

How to setup the Pearls farm

wholesale pearlsPearl farms require only very simple structures, the main purpose of which is to provide some means of holding pearl oysters off the bottom. There are three basic types of farm structures: Tahitian longlines (so-called because they are the most common method used in Tahiti), rafts and underwater trestles. You can also use some combination of these, depending on your needs and location.

1. The Tahitian Longline Method

indonesia south sea pearls cultivation
Indonesia south sea pearls cultivation

A Tahitian longline is simply a length of strong line (main line) held in place by anchor lines and kept afloat by buoys. Proper placement of the anchors and buoys keeps the longline at the correct depth (See Figure 7 – longline illustration). The longline can be used to hang chaplets, pocket panels, lantern baskets or spat collectors.
Figure 7. “Tahitian” long line. A mainline is hung from a series of anchor lines kept suspended by floats interspersed along the line. Longlines can be used to hang chaplets, spat collectors or pocket panels. Modified from Gervis and Sims (1992).

This method is favored because the entire farm structure is below water so the farm is hidden and protected from damage from rough weather and boats. Additionally, material costs are low and should the need arise, the lines can be moved more easily than with other types of farm structures. One disadvantage to the longline method is the need to dive to work on the farm. Since the longline method is the most commonly used in the Pacific, only this method will be described in detail. It takes two people working underwater and at least one person in a boat to establish a longline. The line used for the main line should be a minimum of ¾-in (18-mm) polypropylene or nylon line.

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To start, a diver ties one end of the main line to a coral or rock pinnacle or other anchoring point no deeper than 9 ft (3 m). Be sure the knot used to tie the main line to the anchoring point is very strong. It is wise to anchor the main line at multiple end points since occasionally the main line may fray where it is attached to the coral or rock pinnacle. Then play out the line in the direction of the next anchoring point. Continue until the end of the main line is reached. When tying the line at the last anchor point, it is important to pull the line as tightly as possible before knotting it securely around the anchor point. Usually two people are needed to do this; one person pulls the line as hard as they can and holds it, while the second person ties the knot. You can also use a boat to pull lines tight.

Once the main line is securely attached at both ends, begin to attach the anchor lines at 66-ft (20-m) intervals. Use at least ½-in (12-mm) polyethylene or nylon rope for the anchor lines. Loop the anchor line over the main line and secure it, using a knot that holds firmly but can be untied easily, since the final adjustments to the anchor lines will be made later. Leave plenty of extra line for making adjustments and tying knots. Tie a weight to the free end of the rope and then drop it straight down. This keeps the anchor line positioned vertically below the main line. When you feel that the weight has hit bottom, one diver follows it down and ties the end of the rope to the bottom. Be sure and tie the rope to a secure point. Divers can take turns doing the deep dives as this makes it safer because of the number of deep dives required.

Depending on the current and location of the line, you may have to add some anchor lines tied at angles to the main line to keep it from drifting to one side. In many cases, you may not be able to use coral heads or rocky pinnacles as anchor points, but will have to use weights as anchors instead. More care is needed in this case, as it is important that several sufficiently heavy weights be used at each end and for each anchor line. The end anchor point should have one anchor line tied directly under the main line, and three additional weighted lines tied at angles to the main line. When using weighted anchors, be sure that each anchor weighs at least 75 lb (34 kg).

You may need to add more anchor weights, depending on how rough the water is. For several months, before adding the pearl oysters check the lines weekly to be sure that the anchors are not shifting and allowing the line to move. Once all the anchor lines are in place, attach one float directly over each anchor line. Use a slipknot, which can be easily untied later but is strong enough to hold the float in place. Once all the floats are attached, go back along the line and begin to pull the main line down to the correct depth by pulling down the anchor lines. The main line should be about 13-16 ft (4-5 m) deep, so when the chaplets are tied on, they will hang at a depth of 19-23 ft (6-7 m). When you have finished doing this, swim back along the line and check the depth at each anchor point. You may have to adjust some of the anchor lines and floats because the line tends to stretch and the weight of the pearl oysters may cause the line to sag. Recheck the depth of the line every week or so; you may have to retie some of the anchor lines or add more floats as the lines stretch.

Maintain the main line at the correct depth.
When pearl oysters are hung on the main line, the added weight will cause the line to sag between the points where the floats are attached. The entire line may also sink. Therefore, you should be prepared to check the depth of the entire line every week or so. Add more floats to points where the lines sag, and add enough floats to keep the line at a depth of 13-16 ft (4-5 m). Keeping the pearl oysters clean will also help reduce the weight on the line. Once the pearl oysters and line become fouled, the line may sink out of sight in just a few days. And a line is very difficult to raise to the surface after it has sunk.

2. Floating rafts.

pearls cultivation
pearls cultivation

Floating rafts can be used as bases to hang pearl oysters. Rafts are commonly used in Japan and Indonesia in protected areas and bays. Usually the raft is constructed from lightweight timber or bamboo. The floats can be made from large drums sealed with fiberglass or commercial floats (Figure 8- diagram of raft).
Figure 8. Rafts can be used in calm waters to hang a variety of pearl oyster containers. Modified from Gervis and Sims (1992) by Nakashima. One advantage to this method is that it provides a stable work platform and little diving is needed to tend to the pearl oysters. Floating rafts can only be used in very calm, protected waters and in cases where theft can be prevented. The materials may be expensive, so they should be carefully chosen for the length of their lifetime in seawater. Careful attention must be given to the anchoring to ensure the raft does not break free.

3. Underwater trestles.

golden_pearl_harvesting
Golden pearl harvesting
Underwater trestles can be built from timber, PVC pipes or steel reinforcing bar. Low trestles are used as a base for trays or cages made out of vinyl-coated wire mesh. Higher trestles can be used to hang chaplets or lantern baskets. Underwater trestles can be used to culture adult oysters or juveniles, depending on which type of container you wish to use (Figure 9-underwater trestle with hanging containers).
Figure 9. Underwater trestles are useful in shallow areas and may be used to support trays, chaplets and other containers. It is important to use materials that are resistant to corrosion. Modified from Gervis and Sims (1992) by Nakashima.

Trestles can be good systems for growing spat if properly constructed, but are expensive to build and maintain. They are best used in fairly shallow water, since diving will be required to tend the pearl oysters. Predation by fishes and carnivorous snails is often a problem. You should check the trays weekly for predators such as snails and crabs, which should be removed and killed.
Article source: The Basic Methods of Pearl Farming, Author: A Layman’s ManualMaria Haws, Ph.D. (Director, Pearl Research and Training Program, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720 USA, Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Publication No. 127, March 2002)
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Selecting a site for a pearl oyster farm

Selecting a site for a pearl oyster farm

wholesale pearlsSelecting a good farm site is an important first step towards producing good pearls. Where the farm is located can determine whether the operation is biologically and economically feasible. The site affects how well pearl oysters grow, the quality of the pearls, how safe the farm is from theft or vandalism and how much it costs to operate the farm. Choosing an appropriate site from the beginning is also important because it is difficult to move a farm once it is established.

golden_pearl_harvesting
Golden pearl harvesting

What to look for when choosing a farm site

  • The presence of pearl oysters : The presence of adult pearl oysters or spat indicates that the environment is a good one for pearl oysters. However, do not eliminate a location because of its lack of oysters, in some areas, no pearl oysters will be found because they have been removed, or are naturally rare, but these areas can still be good farm sites if they have the characteristics mentioned below.
  • Good water quality : Pearl oysters prefer clean, clear water far away from sources of contamination such as chemicals, oil, sewage or other pollution. Areas near large villages or towns will usually have some pollution, so farms should be located as far away as possible, or up-current from the source of pollution. Do not  locate your farm near the mouth of a river or other sources of freshwater since sudden changes in salinity can be harmful. Areas with rough water where sand and silt are stirred up should also be avoided since pearl oysters have trouble feeding in cloudy water. A general rule is that a site with thriving corals will be a good site for pearl oysters.
  • A depth of 75-120 ft (22-36 m) and away from reef areas : If the farm is located in an area shallower than 75 ft (22 m), there will not be room to hang farm lines. Locating a farm within 75 ft (22 m) of reef areas may also result in predation by mollusk-eating fishes, rays and octopi that find shelter in the reef. A maximum depth of 120 ft (36 m) is suggested since diving to greater depths is dangerous. Setting secure anchor lines is easiest when the diver can tie off the anchor line to rocky areas on the bottom, which cannot be safely done in depths over 120 ft (36 m). Also, when seeded pearl oysters are dropped or fall off the line, they must be retrieved, a dangerous or impossible task in a very deep area.
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  • A slight water current : A current is beneficial, since water exchange provides a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to the pearl oysters. Water exchange also helps prevent a build-up of waste products beneath the farm that could cause problems with water quality. It is important to observe both surface and bottom currents at a site, since in some areas the surface current may appear to be adequate, but the bottom current may be much less. Waste products can then accumulate underneath the farm. Areas with fast currents or rough  water, however, are difficult to work in and possibly harmful to the pearl oysters. Therefore, only slight currents are tolerable. Areas with stagnant water or rotting seaweed present are also not good sites.
  • A site that can be watched and protected : Pearl oysters are valuable and theft is common. Locating the farm within sight of your house will help prevent this. Additionally, boats or fishing activity can damage lines, so look for areas with little traffic or activity. By avoiding conflicts with other users of the area, your farm will be safer from damage and theft.
  • A site where the farm lines or other farm structures can be securely anchored. There are two ways to secure the main line and anchor lines. One way is to tie them to rocks or coral heads that occur naturally on the farm site; the other is to use artificial anchors like concrete blocks or sand screws. However, tying off the lines to rocky areas is by far the easier and more secure method.
  • A healthy reef : It is important to maintain the condition of coral reef areas. Pearl oysters grow best when their environment is healthy. Therefore, take care not to break or damage corals when setting up the farm – the health of your farm depends on the health of the reef. Although it is usually most convenient to tie main lines and anchor lines to rock or coral areas, avoid disturbing corals if possible. Never tie lines onto large, protruding coral heads. Coral heads make poor anchoring points since they are fragile and break easily. Pick areas where the lines can be tied to the solid base of the reef structure and where little coral will be broken. Coral will rapidly grow around the ends of the lines tied to it and over racks anchored on the bottom. Bare, rocky areas with minimal coral cover are the best spots on which to tie lines. Also take care not to break the coral by standing on it, by allowing farm lines to drop over the reef, or anchoring boats to coral areas. Establish a mooring buoy near your farm instead of anchoring directly on the coral, or tie the boat to the farm line itself.

Article source: The Basic Methods of Pearl Farming, Author: A Layman’s ManualMaria Haws, Ph.D. (Director, Pearl Research and Training Program, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720 USA, Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Publication No. 127, March 2002)
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How much can you expect to earn from a pearl harvest?

How much can you expect to earn from a pearl harvest?

wholesale pearlsThe Appendix contains examples of budgets for small and medium size pearl farms that will provide a beginning farmer with a model to use to estimate how much it will cost to start and operate a pearl farm and approximately how much profit he or she can expect to make. These are simplified examples and must be adapted to the specific costs and prices of each individual (see the Appendix).

golden_pearl_harvesting
Golden pearl harvesting

The amount of money you can expect to earn depends on the number and quality of pearls harvested. In cases where the grafting technician is good, and good farming practices are used, it is generally expected that marketable pearls will be obtained from at least 45% of the pearl oysters that have retained the nucleus 1 month after grafting has taken place. The remaining 55% may be of such poor quality that they cannot be sold. For example, if a good technician grafted 3,000 pearl oysters, about 20% would die or reject the nucleus within 30 days. Between further losses during the cultivation period and the number of poor quality pearls harvested, the resulting 45% sale-able pearls would be 1,350.

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It is not possible to calculate exactly how much these 1,350 pearls will be worth, since pearl prices fluctuate, and because each harvest contains a widely varied assortment of pearl types, sizes and qualities. However, as a general rule, the average farm price of a pearl is around $35. At this price, the 1,350 pearls could be sold for about $48,000 (gross revenue). A small amount of this revenue would also be gained from the keshi pearls harvested at this time.

The profit margin on pearls is relatively low.
To estimate how much of the $48,000 will be profit, the estimated costs are subtracted from the expected gross profit. With the exception of the very largest, highest quality pearls, you can expect that from the average pearl, which sells for $35, the profit will be approximately $7 per pearl since the cost to produce a pearl is about $28 ($38,713 costs, 1,350 pearls). Using the earlier example, 1,350 pearls bringing a profit of $7 each would result in a total profit of $9,000. This is relatively low for 2-3 years of hard work, particularly when considering that the startup costs must also be recovered. Note that in the model budget for a medium size pearl farm of 6,000 pearl oysters grafted, while the average price per pearl is the same, the cost to produce each pearl is lower, at about $20 per pearl. This results in each pearl yielding a profit of $14, about double that of the profit from pearls produced on the small farm.

This slender profit margin is the reason that great emphasis is put on producing high quality pearls, since only these pearls sell for a high profit. As can be seen, the “average” pearl brings very little profit. It is the rare, exceptionally high-quality pearls that produce most of the profit for a farmer. This example considers only the pearls produced the first time a pearl oyster is grafted. As will be discussed later, the pearls produced the second time a pearl oyster is grafted are larger and generally of higher quality and contribute significantly to farm revenues over time.

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Indonesia south sea pearls wholesale – Miss Joaquim Pearls – whatsapp +6287865026222

There may be more profitable ways to invest your money and time.
As demonstrated above, pearl farming can be profitable, but the profits realized are usually not as great as expected. Additionally, to reach even this level of profit requires the ability to maintain the right conditions to grow pearl oysters by using good farming practices. To decide whether pearl farming is the best way to spend your time and money, it is helpful to compare the expected return from pearl farming with that of other investments and activities. Consider whether you would earn more money if you invested the same amount of time and labor into other activities as you will have to in order to maintain your pearl farm. This is called the opportunity cost.

It is also important to compare the amount of money you would earn if you invested your money in some other type of investment (return on investment). For example, if instead of investing $10,000 in a pearl farm, you kept this money in the bank for 5 years, with a 5% return provided by a traditional bank, this investment would then be worth approximately $12,760. Will the pearl farm give you a higher return on your money? Will the return justify the increased risk associated with pearl farming as compared to keeping it safely in a bank? If you had to borrow the money to make the original investment, you will have to pay that back with the income generated, decreasing your net income even more.

Comparing the financial advantages and disadvantages of investing your time and money in pearl farming will help you to make an objective decision about whether pearl farming is the right choice for you.

Article source: The Basic Methods of Pearl Farming, Author: A Layman’s ManualMaria Haws, Ph.D. (Director, Pearl Research and Training Program, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720 USA, Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Publication No. 127, March 2002)
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Determining if pearl farming is possible and will be profitable for you

Determining if pearl farming is possible and will be profitable for you

wholesale pearlsEstablishing and operating a pearl oyster farm requires a large investment of time and money over a period of several years. Additionally, the correct biological conditions must be present to allow pearl oysters to grow well and produce high quality pearls. By conducting a feasibility study before starting a farm, you can determine how much it will cost to operate a farm and if the right conditions for growing pearl oysters are available. You can also roughly calculate how much you can expect to earn from pearl farming.

pearls cultivation
pearls cultivation

The following is a list of factors that must be contemplated before investing in a pearl farm: Costs of starting and operating a farm. Starting a pearl farm and keeping it operating for a long enough period to obtain a steady return may take as long as 4-5 years. Obtaining spat, growing them out to grafting size, grafting and culturing until the first harvest is a lengthy process.

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It must also be recognized that even with a good first harvest, the original investment may not be entirely returned. This may not occur until the second or third harvest. The major types of expenses of starting and operating a farm are listed below and also in Appendix A. Major Costs Determining if pearl farming is possible and will be profitable.
Article source: The Basic Methods of Pearl Farming, Author: A Layman’s ManualMaria Haws, Ph.D. (Director, Pearl Research and Training Program, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720 USA, Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Publication No. 127, March 2002)
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