90% abalone poached in South Africa smuggled to Hong Kong

Wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC estimates 65% of the abalone that reached Hong Kong in 2015 was illegally sourced and smuggled.

FILE: Abalone seized at a processing facility in Goodwood. Picture: Twitter/@SAPoliceService

CAPE TOWN - A report by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC has revealed that 90% of abalone poached in South Africa is smuggled to Hong Kong.

It would also appear that recent abalone busts in Cape Town are not making a significant dent in the illegal trade.

On Thursday, police arrested a man and a woman at an illegal abalone processing facility in Maitland.

However, busts like those, are not affecting abalone flows to Hong Kong.

TRAFFIC estimates 65% of the abalone that reached Hong Kong in 2015 was illegally sourced and smuggled.

The organisation's Nick Ahlers said: “This is one of the trades, it typically doesn’t get as much attention as it should because of its links to wider criminal networks that are supporting the trade and financing the trade on the South African side.”