Can we continue to harvest abalone (Haliotis midae) in South Africa

This article was submitted on (Last modified: Feb. 21, 2020, 8:59 a.m.)


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This post summaries an article by D.J Crookes titled "Can we continue to harvest abalone (Haliotis midae) in South Africa?" The full article can be found here.   Haliotis midae contains a vast array of both species and subspecies. Abalone which are more commonly known as marine snails, have been critically impacted by the effects of illegal commercial harvesting. This is set to have debilitating effects on both impoverished fishing communities and abalone populations.

This study critically assess the internal components of the fishery industry in conjunction with abalone population zones. It aims to acknowledge overall species depletion, alongside potential intervention protocol. The South African abalone fishery is comprised of various actors and stakeholders. This includes the commercial sector, subsistence sector, recreational sector and harvesting sector. If bold and creative steps are not taken in the immediate future, the catastrophic effects of poaching will be evident through the inevitable collapse of the South African abalone fishery industry. A modelling approach was used to form a deeper understanding of the interactions between multiple agents of the abalone fishing industry. Deeper system dynamics and predator-prey models were also incorporated. The findings of the study are that "under current conditions, abalone populations in Zone E could be depleted by 2050. This is due to a spike in illegal fishing effort following the closure of the recreational fishery in 2003." The deterrence of poaching behaviour with the simultaneous re-education communities are both viable solutions aimed at creating a sustainable harvesting sector. South African abalone stocks are vulnerable to over-exploitation and urgent action is required to save these populations from extinction.