A total of eight rubber ducks reportedly belonging to perlemoen poachers have been confiscated during the past two weeks.

Members of the Overstrand Law Enforcement Task Team confiscated six vessels on Friday 9 August in Pearly Beach. Another two boats were confiscated in the same area a week later. No-one was arrested during these operations. This follows the arrest of two suspected poachers on Thursday 15 August after they were found in possession of three bags of perlemoen.

On 6 August two men were arrested in Sandbaai after their illegal processing plant was raided by members of the Hawks and the Department of Fisheries. A total of 4 287 fresh and 11 498 dried perlemoen to the value of R3,9 million rand was seized during the operation.

Poachers, with a total disregard for law, have been blatantly removing thousands of units of perlemoen from local waters during daylight hours. At times more than 150 poachers are to be found at any given time in the ocean on our coastline.

Unless urgent steps are taken to protect abalone, the species faces extinction due to extreme poaching, says TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, in a report titled Empty Shells: An assessment of abalone poaching and trade from Southern Africa.

According to the report, “Over the past 18 years, poachers have stripped South African coastal waters of at least 96 million abalone. Efforts to curb the illegal trade have roundly failed. Once abundant, the population of South African abalone Haliotis midae is declining at unprecedented levels. On average, 2 000 tons of abalone are bagged annually by poachers – 20 times the legal take in an illicit industry estimated to be worth at least US$60 million (R628 million) a year.

6 arrested for illegal abalone possessions. Read more here.

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