The Challenge of Prosecuting Organised Crime in South Africa with Reference to Abalone (Haliotis Midae) Poaching

1.1 Background to the study
South Africa, being a maritime country, has a vitally important fishing industry. The
industry employs about 27 000 people and produces fish with a total wholesale value
of over R1 000 million1. South Africa hosts a predictable16 percent of the total amount
of marine fish species in the world, most of which have at some time or other been
The abalone industry in South Africa originated in 1949. The sought after a balone
species is known as Haliotis midae. South Africa has one of the oldest commercial
abalone fisheries in the world,3 and ranks as one of the top five to ten wild abalone
fisheries in the world, after
Australia and Japan.
The South African fishery industry remained relatively stable between 1972 and 1995,
with abalone catches totaling between 600 and 660 tons annually. This was the case
until 1996, when initial distributions of only 400 tons, later adjusting to 550 tons, were
caught for that season. A lthough this was a result of over -exploitation, biological
uncertainty and political pressure, this dramatic cut indicated the seriousness of the
By 2003, global abalone production levels fell to less than 10 000 tons, about
one-third of the level three decades previously. By 2005, the scale of abalone fishing
had grown tremendously, with a task force of 30 purpose-built vessels harvesting
Fuggle, R.E. and Rabie, M.A. (1999:318-25).
2 Fuggle, R.E.and Rabie, M.A. (1999:318-325).
3 Tarr, R.J.Q. (1992: 438-447).
4 Tarr, R.J. Q, Williams, P.V.G and MacKenzie, A.J. (1997:319-323); Hauck, M. (1997:285).