The Science Of ...

How the legal abalone (aka perlemoen) industry functions in South Africa

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Abalone is a common name for any of a group of small to very large edible sea snails.

It is also known as “perlemoen”.

Abalone flesh is considered a delicacy in many countries around the world.

Abalone-diving has been a recreational activity for many years, but stocks are severely threatened by illegal commercial harvesting.

In South Africa, all persons harvesting this shellfish need permits that are issued annually, and no abalone may be harvested using scuba gear.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Tim Hedges, Managing Director of Abagold, for his weekly "The Science Of” feature.

Scroll down for quotes from the audio below.

The more rubbery it is the more acceptable it is for the Asian market.

Tim Hedges

We got the abalone to spawn monthly whereas it naturally only happens about once per year.

Tim Hedges

The illegal abalone trade will continue until there’s nothing left.

Tim Hedges

We sell a can of abalone for R400.

Tim Hedges

We’re capturing more abalone outside of the sea than poachers in it.

Tim Hedges

We grow abalone over a five year period before we sell them.

Tim Hedges

The ability to replicate the reproduction of abalone is our intellectual property.

Tim Hedges

In nature only about three or four percent of abalones survive to adulthood. Our figure is around 60 or 70 percent.

Tim Hedges

We produce about a million baby abalone per month of which 600 000 to 700 000 survives.

Tim Hedges

We export 99% of the abalone that we produce. The weak rand is a great help.

Tim Hedges

We sell our abalone alive, frozen and canned.

Tim Hedges

We sell most of our abalone around Chinese New Year.

Tim Hedges

The spawning process took 14 years to perfect.

Tim Hedges

Our initial shareholders invested in 1990. We paid our first dividend in 2010.

Tim Hedges

We pump 10 million litres per hour.

Tim Hedges

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