Ministry reviews process after govt abalone storage facility robbed

The Fisheries Ministry plans to review its process of selling and storing confiscated abalone.

FILE: A 37-year-old man was arrested in Blue Downs with 2,779 units of shucked abalone weighing 423kg recovered. Picture: Twitter @SAPoliceService.

CAPE TOWN - Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana plans to review his department's process of selling and storing confiscated abalone.

Zokwana is looking at other options like outsourcing the function or scrapping it.

This follows an armed robbery at a secure Cape Town storage facility on Thursday.

Poaching of abalone also known as perlemoen, is rife in the Western Cape as it fetches steep prices on the black market.

The department says a group of armed, masked men overpowered security guards and made off with the abalone.

The abalone had been confiscated in operations aimed at clamping down on illegal fishing.

The confiscated stock would have been sold by the department and the proceeds would have been reinvested in the fight against poaching.

Government now acknowledges the process may be open to abuse and could encourage corruption and collusion.

At the same time, police have seized abalone worth more than R7 million in separate incidents this past weekend in the Southern Cape.

The two busts were made within hours of each other.

In the first incident in Botrivier near Caledon, police arrested two men following a high speed chase on the R34.

Officials confiscated four tons of abalone worth about R6 million.