Sardines rush forth

2011-07-01 09:10

The sardine run was expected to continue along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline next week, the Natal Sharks Board (NSB) said today.

“The fish are everywhere, all along the coast, from Ballito in the north to Port Edward in the south,” chief executive Mike Anderson-Reade said.

“Its been a very good run at this stage.”

This year had seen far more activity, and far more of the fish have been caught, compared to last year.

The “greatest shoal on Earth” arrived in Hibberdene last Monday. Small pockets of them moved up to Durban four days later.

In the past two days, sardine activity peaked in Pennington, Pumula, Margate, Port Edward, Karridene, Umgababa, and Scottburgh.

About 25 baskets – each containing about 360 sardines – were netted off Durban’s Snake Park.

“This morning [Friday] it was very busy. However, the southwesterly wind is making it difficult for netters in certain areas,” Anderson-Reade said.

Along the south coast, Cape Gannets could be seen diving from considerable heights to catch the fish.

The delicacy initially sold for R650 a basket. By this morning the price had dropped to R100 a basket in Durban, and to between R50 and R100 on the south coast, Anderson-Reade said.

According to a local resident, fishermen were selling them at the roadside this week at R10 for 12, compared to R20 last week.

“The beaches are busy and people are having a lot of fun,” Anderson-Reade said.

“Many of them, that I have spoken to, are not sure what they are going to do with the sardines, but they just enjoy being part of the activities and part of the run.”

The NSB makes regular flights along the coast to track the progress of the shoals and let the public know where they are most likely to beach or be netted.

Last year, sardines began arriving on the province’s coastline in mid-July and resulted in bathing being banned for almost a month, due to predators like sharks feeding.

For regular updates on the slippery shoal, call the sardine hotline on 083 913 9495.

The sardines begin their migration in the cool waters south of the African continent, and swim north-east into the warm Indian Ocean between June and July. 

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