The poachers and the treasures of the deep: diving for abalone in South Africa | Environment | The Guardian
Abalone is dried in clandestine cookhouses in South Africa before being sent to Hong Kong, usually via neighbouring African countries with laxer borders and no laws for policing the abalone trade. Trucks routinely cross into Namibia or Zimbabwe or Mozambique with abalone in false compartments or hidden among boxes of dried fruit. It is a bizarre supply chain, from the shores of South Africa to plates in China.
In the last 25 years, according to Traffic, syndicates have exported more than 50,000 tonnes of the shellfish, equivalent to some 130 million abalone. The annual illicit catch exceeds 3,000 tonnes, averaging eight tonnes every single day. The legal catch, set by the South African government, is 30 times smaller.