The abalone is another sought after species of seafood by criminal activity due to its high demand in neighbouring Asia (Putt and Nelson, 2008). The threats to Australian abalones, rock lobsters, and other high value seafood are both local and global. Authorities have identified the presence of organised groups in Australia, masquerading as recreational fishers, harvesting abalone while using sophisticated camouflage techniques to avoid detection (Putt and Anderson, 2007). There has also been an increasing presence of Southeast Asian fishermen illegally harvesting abalones in Australian waters (Purcell and Eriksson, 2016). The arrival of these fishermen suggests the presence of conflict within their own regions. Conflict in Asian fisheries is not uncommon and often involves violence that comes in the form of human trafficking, warfare, and murder (Glaser, 2017). The increasing demand from Asia and competition among Asian fishermen can only mean more Southeast Asian fishermen threading in Australian waters.
Despite the apparent threat to abalone populations, there seems to be a lack of awareness regarding the matter, especially when compared to the discourse around live exports of Australian sheep and cattle. It is possible that the lack of facial features and expressions of pain displayed by this species, when compared to sheep and cattle, fails to uphold the political image necessary to garner public attention. However, it is probable that the lack of outcry is due to abalones not being a part of the daily Australian diet.
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