TRAFFIC has released a report that details evidence and the evolution of illegal harvest and trade in Perlemoen Abalone, a species found off the coast of South Africa.
The report, titled 'South Africa's Illicit Abalone Trade: An Updated Overview and Knowledge Gap Analysis,' produced by TRAFFIC and funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), reviews 25 years of legal and illegal abalone fisheries and the factors leading to the current status of the species. According to the report, poachers are paid for illegally harvesting abalone, which is worth hundreds of dollars per kilogram in East Asia, with drugs rather than cash.
Of the five species found in South Africa only Perlemoen Abalone, or South African Abalone, is commercially exploited. The snail lives in shallow water, is slow moving, slow growing and late to reproduce, thus making it highly vulnerable to over-exploitation. Although strict annual quotas are set for harvesting, over 10 times the allowable amount was harvested and traded in the last ten years, according to the report.