South Africa. Abalone-diving has been a recreational activity for many years, but stocks are severely threatened by illegal commercial harvesting. When you say, ‘Goodbye baby,’ that’s maybe the last goodbye.” He pointed toward the cold turquoise waters of the Atlantic visible beyond a peak called the Sentinel. Shells have been found in archaeological ruins from the Northern Channel Islands to the Blombos Caves of South Africa. Abalone are shellfish found in kelp forests in ocean waters along most continents and around the southern coast of South Africa. This species is easily recognized by the row of open holes, which are respiratory pores, located along its outer edge. Countries all over the world now practice abalone farming because wild populations have been significantly reduced due to overfishing and poaching. Convicted Poachers In South Africa Explain Why Heavy Policing Is Ineffective. Over the last several years, however, the government has not issued any abalone harvesting permits in an attempt to help restore wild populations. Corruption has become an obstacle in effectively addressing wildlife crimes in many countries, including South Africa, more especially with its illegal abalone … Readying abalone for market “is more complex than making wine,” Piek said. Chinese crime syndicates working with local South African gangs have caused stocks of abalone to be depleted at a record rate. Since 2001 an estimated 75 million abalone—40,000 tons—have been plucked from South African waters, about 10 times the legal quota. These guys earn money like it’s crazy, easy money—it’s flashy cars and motorbikes and girls and drugs.”. Here are the reasons why: Poaching or the illegal harvesting of abalone, is the biggest threat to the South African abalone resource. Abalone (/ ˈ æ b ə l oʊ n iː / or / ˌ æ b ə ˈ l oʊ n iː /; via Spanish abulón, from Rumsen aulón) is a common name for any of a group of small to very large sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs in the family Haliotidae.. Other common names are ear shells, sea ears, and muttonfish or muttonshells in Australia, ormer in the UK, perlemoen in South Africa, and pāua in New Zealand. JOHANNESBURG — Poachers profiting off illegal abalone fishing are fueling a wave of violence in South Africa… Abalone poaching is highly illegal, carrying severe penalties. One of the most expensive varieties of abalone occurs in South Africa, where it has been subject since the 1990s to relentless poaching. What Are The Harmful Effects Of Littering. This species can be found all over the world, preferring the cold waters off the coasts of New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and the Pacific coast of North America. The most desired abalone species is the Haliotis midae, which is the largest of its kind and found only along the coasts of South Africa. He went on to paint a picture of how this abalone graveyard must have come to be: One night a group of divers swam into the kelp forest and pried the barnacle-coated abalone off the rocks as they fed on the kelp fronds swaying in the swells. This designation required member countries to monitor abalone trade, however, it was removed from the list in 2010. This paper explores why the illicit abalone trade took off so dramatically in the 1990s and chronicles the attempts of various enforcement agencies to contain it. About two years ago, Josephs said, he decided to quit poaching abalone out of belief that the current rate of harvesting was unsustainable and that if he didn’t look for other options, he’d find himself and his family without a livelihood when stocks collapsed. It has a large, soft body, known as a foot, that is anchored to the shell by the columellar muscle. Post-Apartheid, abalone limits were taken from these larger companies and redistributed to the previously disadvantaged black-owned companies. Poachers often use a screwdriver to pry out an abalone's flesh—dubbed "white gold" because of its high value. Piek is the marketing manager of Abagold, an abalone farm that at any one time has three million of the shellfish in various stages of growth, from microscopic plankton to pin-size spat to adults whose shells are bigger than a man’s hand. Rampant poaching of wild abalone, whose fleshy snails are considered a delicacy in China and elsewhere, could drive the shellfish to extinction in South Africa within a decade. His wife made tea while their three kids played with their dogs on the dusty floor. Why? Last month, on January 20, four smugglers were found guilty of shipping $1.5 million worth of abalone to Hong Kong. It’s no man’s dream to be an abalone poacher, said Angelo Josephs, as we sat inside his tiny township shack perched on the mountainside above Hout Bay, a suburb of Cape Town. While there are 56 species of abalone in the world, five of these are found in South Africa. Abalone is dried in clandestine cookhouses in South Africa before being sent to Hong Kong, usually via neighbouring African countries with laxer borders and no laws for policing the abalone … They also serve as a food source for many larger marine animals. Abagold’s dried abalone, for example, sells for just over $200 per pound. “Our poaching problem isn’t the fault of the Chinese,” Piek said. These wildlife crimes affect elephants and rhinos among others, but we’re not always reminded about the lesser-known wildlife like perlemoen (or abalone). At Abagold in South Africa, which is the largest abalone farm located on land and outside of China, dried abalone meat sells for $200 per pound, whereas illegal abalone meat sells for around $70 per pound. Numbers of abalone are now at critically low levels because of over-exploitation. The scent of sea salt hung in the air as Werner Piek walked with me alongside hundreds of blue troughs that line the shore in Hermanus, just down the road from where I’d met De Villiers. In South Africa, annual permits are required to harvest abalone. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 worldatlas.com. If somebody can earn a few dollars for a day’s work, they’ll do it.”. 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