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Two abalone busts in Southern Cape

A group of men are behind bars in connection with two incidents of abalone poaching.

A group of men is behind bars in connection with two incidents of abalone poaching. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Southern Cape police have 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 on Wednesday.

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.