Pearl farms serve as important regulators of water quality, with pearl farmers adopting the role of sea stewards to protect their investment, Mr. Hunter said. The pearl-bearing oyster is a filter feeder by nature, with one of the highest clearance rates, he noted, adding that it is often referred to as an “indicator species,” inasmuch as any decline in water quality has a direct impact on oyster health, resulting in poorer pearl quality and increased oyster mortality.
Pearl farming is as much as about knowing the technique of operating on an oyster as it is about preserving nature and nurturing people, said Jacques Christophe Branellec, Deputy CEO and Executive Vice President of Jewelmer, a Philippines-based international luxury brand cultivating South Sea pearls and producing fine jewellery. He also is a Vice President of the CIBJO Pearl Commission.
Emphasizing the close association between responsible social practices and responsible environmental management, Mr. Branellec recounted the efforts of his company to rebuild employee housing after a devastating typhoon had struck the Philippines. While company workers worked to repair damage caused to the pearl farms caused by the storm, Jewelmer built about 400 homes for workers and their families, he recalled. “We are not in the life of a business,” he stated, quoting the company Chairman, Manuel Cojuangco, “we are in the business of life.”