Globally, the pearl industry is worth 903 million USD, while the bivalves industry was estimated to be worth 26 billion USD. In fact, these numbers may not reflect other revenue created from secondary activities like the production of oyster sauce. There are many jobs which can be created from the industry, from people farming the oysters to those who may be required in processing them. In Laufashan, seafood restaurants can also earn money from tourists and locals who dine in.
The 1980s was widely regarded as the “Golden Age” for the local industry, according to local oyster farmer Chan Kam To. However, oyster sales have since declined. due to the wider variety of seafood that consumers have access to, leading them to choose imported oysters instead of local ones. Instead,more oysters from Hong Kong are now being sold to China.
Today, Hong Kong is the world’s largest importer of both pearls and oysters in the world while not exporting as much. The oyster industry declared an annual value of 15 million HKD, out of the 127 million marine fish culture, pond fish culture and oyster culture industry (11.8%). While there was an attempt to grow a pearl industry in Hong Kong in the 60s, there is just one pearl farm left.
Covid-19 has also significantly affected the oyster industry, as restaurants feel reluctant to place orders for oysters, as covid protocols have caused many clients to change their business model, therefore greatly decreasing oyster farmers’ incomes.
Is there potential to generate more income for those who are in the oyster and pearl industry in Hong Kong?
- Wijsman J.W.M., Troost K., Fang J., Roncarati A. (2019) Global Production of Marine Bivalves. Trends and Challenges. In: Smaal A., Ferreira J., Grant J., Petersen J., Strand Ø. (eds) Goods and Services of Marine Bivalves. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-96776-9_2