Sardine Fever Grips

2018-07-05 06:01

AFTER a few years of absence, or only small shoals on the South Coast, this sardine season has commenced with multiple shoals coming to shore up and down our glorious coast.

One journalist has asked why the use of the word “fever”.

My interpretation is that, when the thousands of fish swirl to shore, there is a frenzy of activity from the people who swarm to the beach.

There is almost a delirious scene on the sand, but also from the predators at sea and the swooping gulls that dive into the dark mass under the water.

From a tourism perspective, this is good news because anglers, photographers, the media and inquisitive public come down to witness the spectacle, or fish for the game fish that follow this living tide.

One boat charter crew I spoke to on Sunday said that they took out seven groups in just one day, which is also good for the marine sport economy.

Reports indicate that the shoals are still lingering around Scottburgh and Umzumbe and, who knows, maybe more shoals are making their way to us from the colder waters of the Cape.

The run is, in my opinion, as significant as the upstream salmon migrations that occur in places like Alaska and Washington State in the USA, and the mass movement of wildebeest and zebra on the Serengeti in Tanzania.

Like the expectation for Muslims to visit Mecca in their lifetime, here in South Africa seeing the sardines run has to be on one’s bucket list.

The South Coast has, for decades, been the primary landing area for this great phenomenon so let’s hold out for more shoals this year and in the years ahead.

May everybody have a wonderful Sardine Season 2018.

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