Abalone poachers arrested

R12m worth of Abalone was seized from a tableview home. Picture: Graeme Raubenheimer/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Two men were arrested in possession of 10 bags of abalone on the R43 highway in the Western Cape.

Police say they stopped the suspicious looking bakkie, and one of the three men fled the scene yesterday afternoon.

More than 1900 chucked abalone was found. Police's, Tembinkosi Kinana says the two men will be appearing in the Hermanus Magistrates Court on Monday.

“Police management have commended the good work done by police in that area and have further warned those hellbent on circulating illegal abalone to stop their habits or face the full might of the law.”

Last month the Southern Cape police made two massive abalone busts in the space of just a few days.

In the first incident, two men were arrested after officials found more than 50 bags filled with abalone or perlemoen, as it is known locally, during a routine stop and search operation near Uniondale on Thursday.

In a separate incident, several more men were apprehended after 800 kilograms of abalone were found in their possession near Oudtshoorn.

But environmental activist Shaheen Moola says while these arrests are good news, not enough is being done to stem the illegal trade of Perlemoen.

“One cannot downplay the importance of these arrests but what we don’t hear about are the convictions. We certainly do not secure any convictions. If we do, it’s once every three to four years.”

Abalone meat is used for food and the shells as ornaments and more lucratively as a source of mother-of-pearl jewellery.

The Environment Department has warned that abalone is facing extinction due to over-fishing and poaching.