Abalone poaching is a harsh reality in South Africa. These sea snails are being farmed commercially to supply markets in the East, where it is considered a highly sought-after delicacy. Unfortunately, the value of this animal is so high that illegal poaching from natural populations is very common. Despite the area around Gansbaai in South Africa being known for its great white sharks, extensive kelp forests and rough sea conditions, poachers still frequently risk their lives when diving for these animals because the reward makes the risk of poaching abalone worthwhile.
The Oxylus wide area surveillance system is being used as an early detection system, to aid in the fight against abalone poaching. With natural populations in rapid decline, commercial abalone farm security specialists suspect that it will only be a matter of time before the oceans can’t keep up with the demand anymore. This will most likely result in the poachers turning their attention to the commercial farms.
The main objective here is to detect poachers before they reach the perimeter of the farm and the surrounding ocean, so that security personnel can respond and keep the farm and the remaining abalone in the oceans there, safe. The system is able to detect humans approaching the perimeter from up to 1500m away, even in the middle of the night. It has been invaluable in detecting unwanted trespassers long before they have the opportunity to do harm to the farm. If conventional camera deployment strategies were used, the solution would have costed well over R10 million, but with intelligent placement of the masts, an effective solution was achieved at a fraction of the cost.
Extreme weather conditions such as strong winds of 100km/h and high humidity that results in rapid corrosion of metals require only the best solutions. The hardware used at the sites near Gansbaai are of the best quality, and even a sea gull that attempted to make a nest on the ever-rotating PT head could not affect the system. We are confident that the system will have many more years of uninterrupted surveillance in the area, which will keep the farm, its personnel and the remaining abalone in the oceans around Gansbaai safe!