Abalone poaching has been linked to organised crime rings, most of which operate across borders and seas.
This comes after Phillipi police seized abalone which is estimated to have a street value of R17 million earlier this week.
The abalone was discovered after a suspicious vehicle was followed in Phillipi. A highly lucrative trade exists in the country’s coastal communities – where drugs are frequently exchanged for abalone.
Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:
Senior Programme Officer at Traffic South Africa, Markus Burgener said abalone poaching is one of the biggest problems facing the fishing industry and has been going on for over 15 years.
According Burgener, many poor communities along the coast come from a long tradition of fishing, but lack the legitimate access to the resources.
Burgener unpacked the extent of abalone poaching in the Cape and the criminal networks involved.
Traffic is an international non-governmental organisation which monitors trade in wildlife.