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Legal Matters

Investment needed for pearl culture market in Iran port city

Tehran Southern Iranian port city of Bandar Lengeh in Hormuzgan Province can become a center for harvesting cultured pearls once investment is made in the project, an official said.

Hossein Rias, the head of Fisheries Department in Bandar Lengeh, told Iran Daily, 'Pearls have been traditionally harvested in the area, a laborious practice that means the odds are high for finding any pearls.'

He added, 'Once investment is attracted, either by local or foreign investors, to cultivate pearls in the area, the chance for harvesting pearls goes up significantly,' he added.

Bandar Lengeh is located on the Persian Gulf coast where traditional harvesting of natural pearls has endured through generations.

Rias described the pearls found in the Persian Gulf as the best and most lustrous in the world.

'Given the reputation of the pearls found in the Persian Gulf and Iran's role in harvesting pearls, this valuable jewelry has been globally registered as the 'Pearl of Persian Gulf',' he said.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) registered the 'Pearl of Persian Gulf' in October 2018.

WIPO is a special UN agency registering intellectual properties based on their geographical region.

Rias pointed to the history of pearl harvesting in Bandar Lengeh, noting that harvesting oysters and pearls have been going on in the harbor for many years to the point that it is called 'Port of Pearl'.

He added that overharvesting in the area has led authorities to impose caps for harvesting pearls.

'Harvesting now is only possible at the beginning of the summer. About 0.5 to one million pearl oysters are allowed to be harvested in the harbor,' he added.

According to a report published last year in Financial Times, global production of cultured saltwater pearls is now worth $400 million.

Rias said the seabed and the clean water in the area have the potentials for cultivating and harvesting pearls.

To cultivate pearls, divers handcollect oyster shells from the seabed off Persian Gulf coast and then place a nucleus into the oyster. They are then returned to the sea where they hang on lines in sheltered bays to protect them from undertows. It takes two to three years before a pearl is harvested.

Rias said the process of cultivating pearls is too technical for the locals to grasp. 'They need training.'

He noted, 'If the nucleusplacing is done professionally, the chances are high that you can harvest more pearls from the seabed.'

Cultivation of pearlforming oysters can also boost employment in the area and bring in revenues, he concluded.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA

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