Are pearl oysters sustainable?

Sustainable pearl oysters are not available yet to buy with the blue fish tick in Australia and New Zealand.

What is a pearl oyster?

The silver-lipped pearl oyster (Pinctada maxima) is the largest pearl oyster in the world. The best known Australian pearl oysters are found in Broome, and are valued for their white-silver colour with pink hues, while pearl oyster meat is considered a delicacy. 

The Australian Silver-Lipped Pearl Oyster fishery is the second most valuable fishery in Western Australia.

How do I know if pearl oysters are sustainable?

Pearl oyster meat carrying the MSC blue fish tick is certified sustainable. MSC labelled pearl oyster meat comes from a fishery that has been independently assessed to the MSC Fisheries Standard. Companies using the blue fish tick all along the supply chain have been assessed to ensure products can be traced back to an MSC certified fishery.

Why are there no sustainable pearl oysters available to buy in Australia and New Zealand?

There are currently no pearl oyster products with the blue fish tick available in Australia and New Zealand. Consumer demand is important. You can use your voice to ask your supermarket, fish shop or restaurant to consider stocking pearl oyster meat with the MSC’s blue fish tick.

Wild pearl oysters are hand-gathered from Australia’s northwest coast by license holders operating in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The oysters are used for pearl meat, pearl, and mother of shell products.

Pearl oyster facts

Indigenous Australians have traded mother of pearl shells for millennia, and today the shells retain an important place in local Aboriginal cultures.

 

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