The waters east of Cape Hangklip were once the center of a lucrative wild-caught abalone fishery, but illegal fishing in the mid-1990s escalated to such levels that the recreational fishery was closed in 2003. When abalones did not rebound, commercial fishing was also banned. Continue declines in abalone were attributed to poaching, but an invasion by rock lobsters during the early 1990s probably intensified the trend. Rock lobsters prey on sea urchins, and increased rock lobster densities coincided with significant decreases in urchins. In that area, urchins feed largely by trapping drift kelp, and in doing so provide juvenile abalone with both protective shelter and nourishment. Without urchins' presence, juvenile abalones are less likely to survive to adulthood.