A pearl oyster farm on the northern coast of the Indonesian island of Bali is working to establish a sustainable source for the creatures that produce South Sea pearls, prized for their use in jewelry. But the industry’s fast growth has taken a toll on wild oyster populations, and there’s also been a decline in the quality of pearls. In response, Indonesia has launched a pearl oyster breeding initiative. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of South Sea pearls, accounting for 43 percent of global supply. SUMBERKIMA, Indonesia — In the waters off Bali’s northern coast, three men stand atop a floating cage that holds thousands of pearl oysters. In 2016, they were hired by the oyster fisheries agency in Bali’s Karangasem district to cultivate Pinctada maxima pearl oysters, the mollusks famous for producing South Sea pearls, prized for their use in jewelry. The cage in Sumberkima, measuring 48 square meters (517 square feet) is only the beginning of an effort to establish a new Indonesian center for pearl farming in Bali. In the long run, the program is also meant to maintain Indonesia’s position as the world’s biggest producer of South Sea pearls. Forty-three percent of the world’s […]

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