Two women, aged 35 and 15 years old, are expected in a Port Elizabeth court soon after they were busted by police in possession of around 500 abalone units.
The suspects were arrested by police at Algoa Park on Tuesday morning after police followed up on a tip off.
“We received the information on the suspects and we dispatched officers, who arrested them straight away,” described police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Alwin Labans.
He said the suspects face a charge of the possession of abalone.
In South Africa, all persons harvesting this type of shellfish need permits that are issued annually, and no abalone may be harvested using scuba gear.
This is part of government’s effort to protect the rapidly depleting shellfish species from commercial extinction.
However, illegal fishing – usually by organised crime syndicates, has taken hold with millions of Rands worth of illegal abalone seized by police and environmental officials this year alone.
In Port Elizabeth, criminal gangs that used to rely solely on drug dealing and other crimes, have also seized on the opportunity and several suspects have been arrested for possession of abalone worth millions in the city, this year.