Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Broome Pearls. Pressure on the pearling industry.

The environmental damage to the crystal clear waters along the Kimberley coast where pearling leases are located will be devastating. The turbidity created by drilling and dredging will ruin the nutrient flow required to maintain and grow healthy oysters. Take a look at a previous post on this blog ‘Why Gourdon Bay? ‘ this is what could happen if a gas hub is located on land adjacent to pearling waters.

Redhand noted the recent notices for new pearl farm leases at Sandy Point, Paspaley Pearling Company Pty Ltd, Roebuck Pearl Producers Pty Ltd, Pearls Pty Ltd and the Australian South Sea Pearling Company Pty Ltd and at Vansittart Bay – Seaflower Bay B, Paspaley Pearling Company Pty Ltd; applications for a pearl oyster farm lease Port Smith, Clipper Holdings Pty Ltd and Prices Point, Clipper Holdings Pty Ltd and an application for a pearl oyster farm lease trial site Shenton Bluff, Cygnet Bay Pearls. Each are within close proximity to one of the four sites selected by the Northern Development Taskforce Site Evaluation Reports for an LNG gas hub. Redhand hopes these applications are supported; pearling is an industry that nestles comfortably with a wilderness coast.

Quite apart from the environmental damage that raises the question, will the pearling industry survive, the damage to the heritage, the history and retail value of the pearling industry will be immense and forever. The images of pearls around Broome are many.

Pearls, their history and industry in Broome are one of the major attractions that encourage tourists to visit Broome. Anyone who has been to a Broome Cup knows that that’s ‘show day’ for pearls.

Redhand looks forward to the publication of the sequel to Port of Pearls by Hugh Edwards which is expected to be released later this month during the celebrations for the 125th anniversary of the gazettal of the town of Broome. However, that’s history, what of the future for Pearls in Broome?

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