Abalone worth R5.4 million seized from Grabouw

Posted by Anita Froneman on 28 June 2020

Over R5.4 million’s worth of illegal abalone was seized from a processing site in Grabouw on June 25. The Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) conducted a search and seizure on the property where they discovered freshly cooked and dried abalone as well as processing equipment, according to The South African.

‘Two suspects between the ages of 59 and 52 were arrested and are due appear at the Grabouw Magistrates Court on Monday, June 29,’ said police spokesperson Lt. Colonel Philani Nkwalase.

Since the beginning of lockdown, authorities said there seemed to be a halt in abalone poaching. Babalwa Dlangamandla, a spokesperson for the South African National Parks Service, told Hakai Magazine that poaching has been ‘on a low scale compared to before lockdown.’

But the industry is expected to flare up again, as dire economic situations could drive poachers back into the water.

‘Poaching dropped off but is picking up speed again’, Dewald Barnard, who coordinates a team of anti-poaching volunteers in Port Elizabeth, said to Hakai Magazine. ‘The guys are desperate to make money. The economic situation will force poachers back to the coast.’

It is illegal to take abalone form the ocean in South Africa. ‘Numbers of abalone are now at critically low levels because of over-exploitation,’ states the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Image credit: Twitter/SAPS

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