Abalone Poaching

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Toko
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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Toko » Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:37 am

Organized crime, drugs and poverty are behind South Africa’s abalone poaching crisis


Pretoria, South Africa, 7 October 2014—A new investigative study reveals a highly lucrative trade in a species of abalone—a sea snail found off the coast of South Africa. Investigators found rampant abalone poaching and a growing drug addiction crisis in the South African coastal communities where drugs are frequently exchanged for the illegally harvested snail. The species is particularly prized in East Asia, where people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars per kilogramme for this illegally extracted delicacy.

Most of the poached abalone ends up in Hong Kong, the epicentre of the international trade. There is however, no legal basis in Hong Kong to prevent the imports, even if South African authorities are able to prove that the abalone was illegally harvested. Abalone poaching and trade is largely controlled by local South African gangs with ties to sophisticated East Asian crime syndicates. These syndicates fuel the abalone trafficking from Africa to Asia. In the past decade, these groups have contributed to rising social problems in coastal South Africa by paying for abalone with drugs (methamphetamines) rather than cash. In some cases, buyers and middlemen offer drugs to those diving illegally for abalone often providing the drugs up front and then forcing divers to work off the debt through poaching.

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 overexploitation. Although strict annual quotas are set for harvesting, over 10 times the allowable amount was harvested and traded in the last ten years.

The economic void left behind by apartheid, and the inability of fishermen to adjust to changes and the changing economy problems are to blame for the illegal trade.

The report, 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 study provides a solid base for future interventions. By connecting the pieces of how and why the illegal abalone trade flourishes, we can support the government of South Africa to better manage this important resource,” says Nick Ahlers, Leader of the Wildlife TRAPS Project for TRAFFIC.

“The United States is making it a priority to address the global poaching crisis that undermines economies and threatens our collective security,” says Doreen Robinson from USAID.

For further information contact:
Markus Burgener, Senior Programme Officer, TRAFFIC. Email: markus.burgener@traffic.org, Tel: +27 21 799 8673, Cell +2782 780 9938.

DateWednesday, October 8, 2014 at 18:22

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Toko
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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Toko » Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:47 pm

Interesting read:

De Greef, K. and Raemaekers, S. (2014). South Africa’s Illicit Abalone Trade: An Updated Overview And Knowledge Gap Analysis. TRAFFIC International
poached abalone is surreptitiously transported to neighbouring countries with lax border controls, and then exported. Upon arrival in Hong Kong the importer dutifully declares the contents of the shipment, Customs officials dutifully record its origin and volume, and the poached abalone enters the general market stream, in which it instantly becomes indistinguishable from its legal equivalent.
In other words, by the time poached abalone lands in Hong Kong—as well as other import markets like Japan and Taiwan—it has been cleansed of its black‐market shadow, emerging from the Customs process a legitimate product, available over‐the‐counter like any other legally traded product
While poached abalone is known to be transported through many African countries and imported and sold in a number of Asian markets, law enforcement efforts are currently restricted to South Africa. Apart from the development of national regulations in countries other than South Africa regarding H. midae trade and sale, which would be very challenging to achieve, the only available regulatory tools available are international trade controls. South Africa should accordingly be encouraged and supported in putting forward a CITES Appendix II listing proposal for H. midae.

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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Toko » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:11 pm

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/20 ... r-abalone/

The Disturbing War for Abalone
Posted by International Union for Conservation of Nature on December 8, 2014

South Africa’s illicit abalone trade is steeped in the after-effects of apartheid, organized and violent crime, illegal drugs, and corruption. Species like rhinos, tigers, and elephants are generally better at building public awareness than abalone, a large type of marine snail, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the potency of wildlife crime is any less for abalone. As you read this fascinating account, it’s important to remember that this is one of about sixty species of abalone, each of which has significant economic value—only two have been assessed by the IUCN Red List and the species below is not one of them.

Image

For nearly a decade, starting in the early 1990s, abalone poaching operated almost without notice. However, nearing the millenium this small, informal and opportunistic activity exploded into a large-scale, highly organized and transnational criminal activity that now rakes in millions of dollars on the black market. The export of abalone to Asian markets, where consumers will pay hundreds of dollars per kilogram, at first brought unprecedented wealth to coastal communities that had just exited institutionalized apartheid. In these coastal towns, entrenched structural inequality, limited governance and a lack of institutional capacity allowed the establishement of international crime syndicates that saw an enormous potential for profit from abalone.

For many local people, this newly recognized source of wealth meant that, at its peak price, a person could earn four times the average monthly income for just two hours of work. As a result, coastal South Africa transformed from a network of small fishing communities, to outposts of international organized crime battling for the opportunity to harvest and export abalone. It is not surprising then that these turf wars have resulted in what can be best described as a script for murder, vengeance, drug use, luxury, heartbreak, thievery and corruption. However, the money earned can also be used to send childern to better schools, provide healthier food, and increase quality of life. But in many cases, the wealth gained by poaching abalone is flaunted with sportscars and luxury items, and it’s not uncommon to see an entire street of homes with gleaming new satellite dishes. Additionally, international crime syndicates often trade abalone for illegal drugs like methamphetimines or heroin that tend to erode communities.

Abalone collection itself is not illegal, but there are catch limits and the framework of an abalone management system (however fraught with challenges it may be). In one of the many attempts to stem the illegal trade in abalone a dedicated environmental court was created to handle abalone poaching cases for South Africa. The prosecution rate for this court was 75%, compared to 10% in mainstream courts that tended (and still tend) not to view wildlife crime as the serious crime it is. Despite this success, citing budget constraints, the court was closed in 2006 and as a partial response in 2007 South African abalone (Haliotis midae) was listed under CITES appendix III, restricting its international trade by requiring that exported abalone be accompanied by a CITES permit. However, this CITES listing was withdrawn in 2010 due to the logistical constraints of monitoring abalone exports.

Image

In a 2012 estimate 1,723 metric tonnes (almost 4 million pounds) of abalone were harvested in South Africa—an order of magnitude larger than the allowable catch. However, researchers discovered that much of the abalone arriving at markets in Hong Kong was being exported from land-locked African nations that have no abalone stocks or fishery (e.g. Lesotho, Swaziland) and had been smuggled into the country from South Africa. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, the abalone are declared to customs officials, and since abalone is not illegal, the abalone that probably originated in the illegal South Africa abalone trade is washed of its history and enters the legal supply.

Beyond abalone, this is the mechanism by which much illegal wildlife trade persists. Hundreds of other species that have some value to people as food, pets, “aphrodisiacs”, or any other value are harvested from wild populations for trade. The sustainable use of these species is important to people and if harvested responsibly and with some mechanism of replacement, nature can continue to provide the species that people enjoy or depend on. However, if a species is harvested unsustainably, it can have drastic consequences for both people and the survival of these species.

Image

For species like the South African abalone (Haliotis midae), it is clear that the combined legal and illegal harvest of this species has had significant consequences for people living in coastal South African communities as well as the abalone populations and the ecosystems of which they are an essential part. However, without some international and impartial metric to gauge how many abalone remain in the sea, how fast they reproduce, where they are located, and how they actually contribute to human livelihoods, the conservation of this species must rely on estimates that often must weigh competing political considerations, or no estimates at all. The future of this and other abalone species in the wild is dependent on a comprehensive assessment of the capacity for their sustainable harvest and the most appropriate and trusted method to accomplish this is through the IUCN Red List as it works to increase the number of species assessed to include all abalone and other potentially threatened but unevaluated organisms.

This short account is based on a report released by TRAFFIC International, with support from USAID and IUCN. Please read the entire, fascinating report here
http://www.traffic.org/storage/W-TRAPS- ... report.pdf

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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Toko » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:01 am

Perlemoen poaching is out of control

The lack of credible deterrence mechanisms against poaching is devastating to both the well being of communities and the sustainability of the resource.

Poaching has made a few people very wealthy, but the distribution of abalone (perlemoen) money through the community has had a destructive effect. It takes children out of schools and gangs use abalone smuggling to fund and facilitate drug trafficking.

Abalone poaching has become an organised industry turning millions each year. Transnational crime syndicates commanding the industry on the trade routes to East Asia link up with local gangs who control shoreline activity.

The binge of illegal harvesting by syndicates has brought South Africa’s stock of wild abalone to the brink of extinction.

Ultimately, abalone can only survive if it is kept in the water. Without the support of affected communities which could promote a culture of self-regulation against poaching, this is unlikely to happen.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) recommends the following steps to prevent further destruction of poor communities and to replenish the stock of valuable abalone on our shoreline:

Reverse the Department’s incentive to wait for abalone to be poached before intervening. The Department of Fisheries relies on the sale of confiscated abalone to fund a substantial part of its operational budget. It thus has a financial interest to ensure that large scale poaching continues so that the product can then be confiscated and sold for a profit.
Re-institute Operation Trident with appropriate institutional support such as the Green Courts. Operation Trident replaced Operation Neptune in 2004. It was a three-pronged initiative that focused on intelligence gathering and collapsing of syndicates, the establishment of green courts to ensure high prosecution rates and jail times and on-the-ground enforcement with the deployment of an additional 70 South African Police Service (SAPS) officers to the Overberg, in addition to dedicated Overstrand Conservation official and a 24 hour call centre to report poaching. At least part of the battle against abalone poaching is to convince the illicit industry that the costs are simply too high.
Create incentive structures to secure community policing to exterminate the demand side. This is obviously the most challenging aspect of eradicating abalone poaching. Gangs have deeper pockets than many households in abalone-concentrated communities and sell products (such as tik) which are attractive escape mechanisms for people whose lives are characterised by deprivation. Gang activity has shattered the social fabric of these communities. Rebuilding social capital is necessary to overcome the narrow interests of gangs.
Reverse the rapid collapse of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The growing institutional failures and collapse of governance at the department is a direct contributing factor to uncontrolled poaching. South African waters remain completely open to vast and unchecked, illegal, unregulated and unplanned fishing as our R 1 billion fleet of patrol vessels continue to lie idle in Simons Town Harbour.
Until these steps are implemented, our marine resources will continue to be stripped.

The current apathy is tantamount to condoning poaching.

This is indicative of a department whose legacy will be characterized more by poaching than by prudence.

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Toko
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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Toko » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:02 am

The Department of Fisheries relies on the sale of confiscated abalone to fund a substantial part of its operational budget. It thus has a financial interest to ensure that large scale poaching continues so that the product can then be confiscated and sold for a profit.
Poaching funds a government budget O/ O/ O/ O/ O/

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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Bushcraft » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:14 am

Toko wrote:
The Department of Fisheries relies on the sale of confiscated abalone to fund a substantial part of its operational budget. It thus has a financial interest to ensure that large scale poaching continues so that the product can then be confiscated and sold for a profit.
Poaching funds a government budget O/ O/ O/ O/ O/
Agreed O/ O/ O/ O/

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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:42 pm

That's scandalous :evil: ...........and against the law 0*\
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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Flutterby » Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:45 am

So typical of this country!! O/ O/

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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Toko » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:25 am

From FB South African Police Service (SAPS Official Page)
2 Std. ·
Western Cape: Yesterday, 16 March 2016, at about 13:40, police followed up information of illegal activities at a smallholding along Klein Dassenberg Road on the outskirts of Atlantis. A search warrant was obtained and was executed.
An Illegal abalone processing facility was discovered, cooking, cleaning, drying and packaging equipment were found on the premises. A total of 6151 wet and a total of 14 014 dry abalone estimated to the value of R2 Million, chemicals and other equipment were confiscated.
Six suspects ages between 19 and 43 years old were arrested and are expected to appear at Atlantis Magistrate’s Court on Friday 2016-03-18 facing charges related to the illegal possession of abalone.

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Re: Abalone Poaching

Post by Lisbeth » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:06 pm

Another problem that is not faced with enough severity by the law forces 0*\

Sooner or later the West Coast will find itself without crayfish too, if they do not start controlling more severely the quotas!!
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