Marine Anti-Poaching Unit – Why do we exist

Marine Anti-Poaching Unit (MAPU) operates primarily in the service industry and as a nonprofit. We have identified that there is a lack of awareness and drive to reduce poaching of marine life and action is required. Government regulation has been implemented, but not effectively enforced. The last update we can find dates to 2013 where a risk was already acknowledged.

(Department of Agriculture, 2013)


(SA, 2013)


Previous anti-poaching units was disbanded due to lack of funding and government interference, where certain parties were trying to take claim to successes pre-elections and post-election interest in supporting anti-poaching seized.

Today there is limited to no statistics freely available showcasing the impact of poaching on particularly the Abalone species. Articles around activity do appear, but actual knowledge around the impact of poaching on abalone in South Africa remain a mystery. (Steyn, 2017)

What we do know for certain is that in the Overstrand region, as little as 15 years ago, Abalone was plentiful where you would find 4-5 abalone on top of each other on almost every rock. Today the Overstrand abalone count has reduced drastically and can only be found in certain areas. In addition, the competition for poaching abalone is so rife that the species are not able to reach their full maturity to procreate.

According to the Marine Living Resources Act of 1998 only permitted businesses (commercial use) is allowed possession of abalone and have to abide by the minimum shell size of 114mm for abalone fishing.


Poachers simply do not abide by any rules and are destroying our Abalone resources, as you can see on the picture (left), besides the volume of abalone lost due to poaching, they are being extracted from the ocean long before they mature.

Today we see poachers roaming freely and without care in the Overstrand area as there is no prevention plan in place and no one enforcing the basics of marine conservation.

Research shows that during 2000 – 2006 when an anti-poaching unit was present in the area, poaching was almost non-existent. Marine Anti-Poaching Unit (MAPU) strives to return the Overstrand to this state.

If you are as passionate as we are about conserving our marine life for future generations please send your contact information to Please include details around how you can support: donation, getting involved or sponsorship and one of the team will contact you as soon as possible.