The sardines are on their way

2016-06-07 06:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence (KZNSB) undertook its second observation flight in the lead up to this year’s sardine run on Thursday.

The news is all indications are that the sardines are making their way up the Eastern Cape coast in the area between Coffee Bay and Hole in the Wall, about 140 km south of KwaZulu-Natal. In a statement, head of operations at KZN Sharks Board Mike Anderson-Reade said hundreds of Cape gannets were seen actively diving and sitting on the water surface and many dolphins are feeding in this area, which is a good sign of sardine activity.

“The area of fairly intense activity stretches for about 10 km. There were no visible signs of shoals of sardines. However, the feeding activity of both the gannets and dolphins suggests that there are fish in the area,” said Anderson-Reade.

He said numerous shoals of baitfish are currently visible at the surface all along the inshore region of both KZN and the Eastern Cape. “This is common for this time of the year and these shoals are often mistaken for sardines.

“Although it is difficult to be certain of the species makeup of the shoals, reports from reliable sources that target these fish for bait report that they consist mainly of red eye sardine (east coast round herring) and mackerel. No predator activity has been seen accompanying these fish.”

Anderson-Reade said all shark safety gear along the coast remains in place and all beaches are open for bathing.

“A strategy for net removal ahead of the sardine run has been agreed with the Hibiscus Coast Municipality and this will be implemented as required.”

He said the Sharks Board will continue to closely monitor sardine activity and remove or replace shark safety gear as required.

— WWR.

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