Demand has soared, fueling a multibillion dollar global export industry—and a booming illegal trade from South Africa. JOHANNESBURG — Poachers profiting off illegal abalone fishing are fueling a wave of violence in South Africa… Poachers threaten rare South African abalone 09:56. The majority of this illegally poached meat is sold in Asian countries, where it is considered a delicacy. During Apartheid, the vast majority of the quotas were given to white-owned companies. Numbers of abalone are now at critically low levels because of over-exploitation. Last month, on January 20, four smugglers were found guilty of shipping $1.5 million worth of abalone to Hong Kong. That led to even more poaching. “So we’re going to take the chance. When I asked Pierre de Villiers, of CapeNature, if farming abalone to take the pressure off wild populations and decriminalize the industry was a good idea, he equivocated. These individuals, who had been harvesting abalone for generations, were excluded from the market. By Amber Pariona on August 1 2017 in Environment. These wildlife crimes affect elephants and rhinos among others, but we’re not always reminded about the lesser-known wildlife like perlemoen (or abalone). But, he conceded, “ranching is one solution—though we’d then need a plan to divide the coast up and dedicate specific areas for reseeding and ranching and other areas where wild abalone can thrive.”, He added: “We need to start looking at solutions no matter who or what you stand for. “Our poaching problem isn’t the fault of the Chinese,” Piek said. 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. But according to van der Heyden, it’s worse than ever now. The excessive poaching of abalone has colossal ecological, social, economic and political consequences for the country. The report, South Africa's Illicit Abalone Trade: An Updated Overview And Knowledge Gap Analysis, produced by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) researched 25 years of legal and illegal abalone fisheries and the factors leading to the current crisis. This designation required member countries to monitor abalone trade, however, it was removed from the list in 2010. What would make more sense, he said, would be to divide responsibilities among different government agencies: one to issue quotas based on sound science, another to manage abalone conservation, and one—the country’s priority crime unit, known as the HAWKS—to focus on organized crime. The problem with sprinkling farmed abalone into the ocean to boost wild stocks, he said, is that “you create a genetic bottleneck—a lack of diversity in the wild gene pool.” Wild abalone then risk collapse from disease or changes in the environment. The excessive poaching of abalone has colossal ecological, social, economic and political consequences for the country. Why? Despite these successes, according to Josephs much illegal abalone goes undetected because some local police officers are corrupt, paid off by the criminal syndicates to turn a blind eye. These species are ecologically important and their algae grazing behavior cleans the area, allowing for colonization and population growth of other species. He wanted to be part of a solution that would ensure the survival of both the abalone and the traditional fishermen. By doing this, Japanese producers sustainably harvest more than 5,000 tons of abalone a year. All rights reserved. Van der Heyden told me he gave up abalone poaching about 12 years ago because, he said, he wanted to “lead by example” and do what he could to help fight for his community’s access to the fisheries. 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. The illegal trade exploded in the years after apartheid, when international sanctions against South Africa were lifted. Since 2001 an estimated 75 million abalone—40,000 tons—have been plucked from South African waters, about 10 times the legal quota. Wild abalone in South Africa has declined to such an extent that the resource is threatened with commercial extinction, says Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environment and Tourism. When asked about corruption in its Western Cape branch, the South African Police’s media representative responded that “corruption by SAPS members are very high on our priority list and every endeavour is made to apprehend and discharge corrupt police officials.” National Geographic also reached out to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries but had received no response by the time of publication. Layer of nacre, also known as perlemoen – in its waters about!, carrying severe penalties and environmental crisis in South Africa Explain Why Heavy Policing is Ineffective a booming trade... Overlook the illegal trade in the illegal harvesting, South Africa 's stock wild... Harvesting abalone for market “ is more complex than making wine, ” he said emphatically has helped the population! 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why is abalone illegal in south africa

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