25 Sep 2011

New niche pearl market predicted

7:16 am on 25 September 2011

The state government in Western Australia says a successful pearl production trial could open a new niche market for the pearling industry.

The ABC reports a four year research programme on the Abrolhos Islands found the production of Akoya pearls has strong commercial potential.

Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said the Abrolhos produce higher quality pearls than China, which is a major producer of low cost Akoya pearls.

''There is a significant degree of interest in the quality of the Akoya pearls that we are able to produce here in Western Australia," he said.

''Hopefully they will find a niche market in both China and Japan that will see them do very well.''

The trial was funded by the state's Fisheries Research & Development Corporation.