Sustainable Pearl Oyster Cultivation - A Win-win Solution for Ocean Recovery and Poverty Alleviation
Laura Agusto A Plastic Ocean Foundation
Since 2019, A Plastic Ocean Foundation has been working with the Hong Kong Pearl Cultivation Association in sustainably cultivating pearl oysters with the goal to clean our oceans, conserve biodiversity and provide jobs for the disadvantaged community. Under the umbrella of our #SustainablePearlCultivation Initiative, we now have over 150,000 pearl oysters at our farm in Sai Kung. Pearl oysters are kept in wired nets hanging from rafts while both the pearl and oyster grow. Within China, the pearl oyster is the main seawater oyster and over 20 tonnes of cultured pearls were produced in 2010. Oysters benefit our coastal environment through a wide range of actions. The most noticeable of them all being their incredible water purifying capacities. 1 oyster can filter up to 73 000 L per year. This means it only takes around 1300 oysters to filter all the water within Victoria Harbour in 1 years’ time. Because of these water purifying capacities, companies use these incredible animals to offset their water usage. They are also known as great habitat creators supporting biodiversity and protecting our coastlines by lowering incoming waves. Through collaboration with impact investors to scale up our business we can explore cleaning our coastal waters in Aberdeen, Ma Wan and Tuen Mun. Oysters also boost socio-economy of surrounding communities. We aim to support this by hiring underprivileged adults for upkeep and maintenance of the oysters. Through our 3 folded approach we hope to not only improve our coastal waters but also livelihoods of surrounding communities.