From our pristine waters to the final consumer, Aqunion offers only the very best quality abalone. Please get in touch with our Sales Manager to discuss your individual processing, packing and shipping requirements.
South African abalone
The South African abalone – Haliotis midae – is incredibly sought after throughout the world, renowned for its exquisite taste, texture and shape. It is one of the abalone species that grows to the largest size in its natural environment. Nowadays, this rare species is sadly near extinction due to overfishing. Stocks are virtually depleted and commercial quotas have been reduced from its peak in the 1980s of 600 tonnes per annum to 90 tonnes per annum today. In order to ensure the survival of the species, abalone is farmed in fresh natural seawater. In nature, abalone inhabits rocky surfaces in the sub-tidal zone along the coastline. They are herbivores that trap bits of kelp and other seaweeds by clamping down on these plants with their ‘foot’ while they feed on them. They then breathe through the row of holes – tremata – along the edges of their shells. Abalone takes very long to grow, specifically 8-9 years to reach the minimum legal size at which they can be collected.
Did you know?
- The word abalone comes from the Spanish ‘abalon’ meaning ‘sea mollusc’.
- Abalone is known by many names: Ear-shells, Haliotis, Sea-ears, Venus-ears, Muttonfish or Muttonshells in Australia, Paua in New Zealand and Ormer in Jersey and Guernsey.
- The South African name – Perlemoen – comes from the Dutch term Paarlemoer, meaning ‘mother of pearl’, which lines the inside of the shell.
- Abalone shells have been found in archaeological sites around the world, including 75,000 year old deposits at Blombos Cave in South Africa.
- In the wild, an abalone can reach an age of more than 25 years old.
- The largest ever South African abalone caught weighed 2.6kg and was estimated to be 30 years old.