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Poached Abalone shells line the shoreline after being washed ashore on Robben Island, South Africa © Peter Chadwick / WWF

South Africa's illicit abalone trade An updated overview and gap analysis

Poached Abalone shells line the shoreline after being washed ashore on Robben Island, South Africa © Peter Chadwick / WWF

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Published 7th October 2014

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Organised 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.  

South Africa's Illicit Abalone Trade: An updated overview and knowledge gap analysis

Report author(s):
Kimon de Greef and Serge Raemaekers

Publication date:
October 2014

About Wildlife TRAPS

The USAID-funded Wildlife Trafficking, Response, Assessment and Priority Setting (Wildlife TRAPS) Project is an initiative that is designed to secure a transformation in the level of co-operation between an international community of stakeholders who are impacted by illegal wildlife trade between Africa and Asia. The project is designed to increase understanding of the true character and scale of the response required, to set priorities, identify intervention points, and test non-traditional approaches with project partners.

About USAID

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is responsible for the majority of overseas development assistance from the United States Government and works to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing security and prosperity for America and the world.