James Kar-Hei Fang, Ph.D.


James Kar-Hei Fang, Ph.D.

Restoring pearl oysters in Hong Kong to benefit communities and the environment

Hong Kong was once home to extensive pearl oyster reefs that improved water quality through the oysters’ filter feeding, provided habitats for other marine organisms, and supported a vibrant pearl production industry. However, overexploitation and marine pollution led to the degradation and eventual collapse of oyster stocks in the 17th century, and the ecosystem benefits they provided were lost as well.

James Kar-Hei Fang will rebuild pearl oyster reefs at select sites in Hong Kong’s Tolo Channel using oysters cultured in captivity. Relying on advanced 3D technologies, he will monitor changes in local biodiversity created by the reefs, and he will use the oysters as a biomonitoring tool to assess marine pollution in Hong Kong. Fang will also collaborate with local fishers on aquaculture techniques that support the development of a sustainable pearl oyster fishery.

To learn more about Fang, read his bio.

See the full list of 2024 Pew marine fellows.

A man standing next to a blue outdoor tank with an open glass lid looks at an oyster that he is holding in his hand. With his other hand, he holds a small white tray containing several other oysters.
James Kar-Hei Fang observes oysters that have been cultured in captivity.
Courtesy of James Kar-Hei Fang

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