From the laboratory to the sea

When the baby oysters have grown enough, they are placed between two nets in a safe little pocket. Here they will grow until large enough to be supported on strands of nylon rope and immersed again in the bay. A hole is drilled in the double thickness of the oyster just above the hinge. A metal loop is threaded through the hole and attached to the rope. This is not painful to the oyster, easier than piercing a human’s ear lobe.

More details on from visit to Thailand Pearl farm

Arriving by long-tail boat at this isolated pearl farm in Thailand is an adventure in itself. Be careful not to make any sudden moves, or better yet, don’t move at all or you will end up in the sea. My guide, the captain, and I head out into the azure waters for an island of anchored rafts where the oysters grow. The January sun is blisteringly hot, the sea a tepid 82-84F.

The tour begins with a detailed explanation of the variety of predators and parasites that attack oysters. There are several species of mollusk raised here, along with a few species of farm friendly fish and a hybrid seaweed. I am then introduced to the laboratory where baby oysters are nurtured until they have a chance of survival in the rigors of the bay.