The remarkable stories of these individuals and the reasons for their terrifying commute are set out in a new book called Poacher: Confessions From The Abalone Underworld by journalist Kimon de Greef and poacher Shuhood Abader (not his real name).
Stories of the abalone trade, both in the book and in recent news reports, are so bizarre and surprising they're almost hard to believe.
A new report released by the international conservation organisation TRAFFIC reveals that since 2000, poachers have stripped South African coastal waters of at least 96 million abalone. On average more than 2,000 tonnes of the sea snail are bagged annually by poachers--that's 20 times the legal take--in an illicit industry that was estimated to be worth $57m ([pounds sterling]45m) in the year 2016.
The main buyers are in Hong Kong, where abalone is prized as a symbol of wealth and served in expensive restaurants for up to [pounds sterling]420 a plate.
In comparison, the abalone catch has dwindled over the years in Omani waters, with yearly catch hovering around 50-55 tonnes.
With the dwindling catch, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has imposed bans on fishing abalone from time to time, with the latest one being imposed for two years beginning 2017.
'So many of the applications we made to different departments, were in fact, the first such applications ever received and so there is no specific experience of analysing and approving processes and applications for abalone aquaculture farming in Oman.
It will have one full unit of 160 tanks producing volumes of abalone equivalent to 100 tonnes production per year.
The pinto abalone has been taxonomically subdivided into two subspecies: Haliotis kamtschatkana kamtschatkana ranging from Sitka, AK to Point Conception, CA; and Haliotis kamtschatkana assimilis ranging from Monterey, CA to Bahia Tortugas, Baja California, Mexico (Fig.
Genetic tools have been developed to confirm whether there are genetic bases for differences among abalone species and among populations within species.
(2010) developed high fidelity size and sequence polymorphic markers in the reproductive proteins lysin and VERL for forensic analyses of northeastern Pacific abalone species.
For the purpose of this review, pinto abalone will be referred to as one species throughout its range.
TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, said Wednesday that 96 million individual abalone worth nearly $900 million (e1/4771 million) have been illegally poached off South Africa's shores in the past 17 years.
Only around a third of abalone harvested off South Africa's coast was done legally in line with quotas and other regulations, the report said.
Chinese crime syndicates working with South African gangs have taken advantage of poverty and joblessness in Western Cape Province, in many cases combining the illegal abalone trade with drugs and other high-value wildlife products, the report said.