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Caribbean-On-Line / St. Barts / Local Stuff / Municipality Authorizes Oyster Farming

Municipality Authorizes Oyster Farming

Pearls have a long history of folklore from the Greek belief that wearing pearls promotes marital bliss to the Hindu belief that they increase memory and help control anger. But, on a more scientific note, recent research has shown that mother-of-pearl has regenerative properties for human skin and bone tissue. As such, the product is in demand by the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.

Pierre Lietard began farming the Pearl Oyster in the Caribbean in 2003 for the Science and Sea laboratory in Brest, France. Today, his company, Nacre Carïbe, has an oyster farming business off the coast of Guadeloupe. Lietard recently received permission from the municipality of St Barth to create oyster beds off the northwest side of the bay of Corossol that will span a radius of 50 meters with a depth of eight meters. The regenerative properties of mother-of-pearl are due to the calcium ions found in the Pearl Oyster, and Lietard has invented a process to extract these ions. The extracted calcium ions will be used in medications to treat osteoporosis and in cosmetic and therapeutic bath products as an anti-wrinkle agent and to promote elasticity in the skin. In addition to use of the mother-of-pearl, Lietard's goal is that each oyster will also produce a pearl that can be sold to jewelers. Estimates for the first harvest are at least three years away, but a pearl is in the making.

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