Atlas Pearls has called an oyster heist at one of its remote pearl farms a “minor security incident”.

Unlike the audacious Broome Pearl Theft of 2005, worth about $500,000, these shell-shocked thieves took young oysters that weren’t bearing pearls.

But Atlas  managing director Pierre Fallourd told Stockhead that stealing un-seeded shells wasn’t a mistake.

Atlas suspected it was probably an outsider who was trying to set up their own operation, Mr Fallourd said.

“It’s related to genetics,” he said.

“We’ve been producing shells that are a little bit better – we believe – than others. People sometimes take other shells to seed them afterwards.

“Baby oysters still have a commercial value, [but] it won’t have any financial implications for us in the foreseeable future.”

“As the company has increased seeding and survival rates of the oysters the incident is not expected to affect seeding target nor have a material financial impact on future performance, however, the security breach is being taken very seriously,” Atlas (ASX:ATP) told investors.

“Security protocols are being upgraded and investigations are ongoing.”

Atlas, which operates pearling farms throughout the Indonesian Archipelago, also reported “pleasing” half year results (which are subject to audit review), including a 3.3 per cent sales boost to $6.6m.