Sardines: The run will continue

2008-06-27 00:00

Thanks to nature’s incredible ability to repair the sea, the sardine run will continue along the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

Mike Anderson-Reade, chief executive of operations with the Natal Sharks Board, said this year’s sardine festival promised to be a bumper one until nature threw “a curveball” in the form of flash floods along the lower south coast.

But if the current good weather continues, he added, there is no reason why the sardine run would not continue.

An observation flight by the sharks board located large shoals off Greenpoint near Scottburgh and towards Umkomaas at the beginning of the week. Fish were netted off Warner Beach and Amanzimtoti on Wednesday and small numbers were spotted off Port Edward on Thursday.

However, they headed out to sea and all was quiet yesterday afternoon.

Anderson-Reade said that in the wake of the recent floods, the fish had simply moved two or three kilometres out to sea behind the “dirty water”. The chance of sardines beaching in Durban is reckoned to be slim because of poor visibility and debris in the aftermath of the floods.

“I thought it would be a good year for Durban,” he added, noting that the last time sardines appeared along the Durban beachfront was in 2005 when whole crates were sold for R10 or given away.

He said the sardines — really pilchards — could stop dead at the Bluff if the waters did not cool sufficiently further north. From there, they usually turn towards the Durban beachfront or overshoot and head towards Ballito. They are seldom seen as close to beaches on the north coast as they are in the south.

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