Research is needed to investigate the development of an Akoya industry in WA
Limited trials of seeded wild Akoya shell have shown promising results and market feedback lead us to believe there is a very real opportunity for slightly larger Akoya of better quality. Port Stephens has built a successful Akoya industry and we would like to assess the commercial viability of this model in the Abrolhos area. The economics of farming Akoya appear attractive in terms of total cycle and husbandry costs when compared with black pearls and offer the ability to leverage our existing infrastructure into the new species creating economies of scale.
Part of the project involves developing broodstock selection protocols to choose desirable broodstock and create a broodstock conditioning system both on farm and in the hatchery. Research into the use of hatchery bred stock and development of broodstock selection protocols and broodstock holding and conditioning systems will be very beneficial to this developing industry.
The BCMI has a full time hatchery technician that will assist in developing these protocols. This technician has limited experience of other hatcheries and the project proposes to build the knowledge base of the technician through hands on supervised experience at 2 East Coast hatcheries. This will improve the technical capacity of the hatchery facility to increase quality spat production.
There is a need to assess the impact of the environmental conditions at various farm sites on animal health, growth rates and pearl quality. Production costs must be managed carefully for the species to be commercially viable so site selection at various stages of the life cycle is important.