Sardines make numerous appearances

2018-06-28 06:00
PHOTOS: Joos NelResidents taking advantage of the once in a year shoal in Ramsgate on Saturday.

PHOTOS: Joos NelResidents taking advantage of the once in a year shoal in Ramsgate on Saturday.

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THE Sardines made a number of appearances on South Coast beaches this year, bringing about some of the largest shoals in years.

Since last week, the silver bundles of the Clupeidae family have laced several South Coast beaches including Ramsgate, Margate, Mtwalume, Carousel, Park Rynie, Ifafa and Pennington, this despite previous predictions by the KZN shark board that shoals would be few and far in between this year (if any appearance would be seen at all).

According to the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (Sassi), the sardines are now on the orange list, which means their prevalence was a cause for concern.

According to Sassi, the orange group includes species that have associated reasons for concern, either because the species is depleted as a result of overfishing and can’t sustain current fishing pressure, or the fishery that catches them may cause particularly severe environmental damage and/or has high bycatch, or the lifestyle of the species makes it vulnerable to high fishing pressure.

Consumers are thus encouraged to think twice about fishing for and consuming fish from this group.

The KZN Sharks Board however confirmed that shoals that appeared on South Coast beaches this year were off a sizeable amounts.

“Sardines were netted for most of the day, with each net averaging around 500 crates of sardines per net. The biggest net taken yielded 1 000 crates, a massive haul for one net. Netters have, however, been having problems with sharks biting through their nets in an attempt to get at the fish inside,” said Mike Anderson-Reade from the KZN Sharks board.

He cautioned that the shoals are normally accompanied by hundreds of sharks.

“Shark safety gear has been removed from the beaches from Isipingo to Port Edward.

“The Sharks Board appeals to members of the public to exercise caution, should they enter the water, due to the high numbers of sharks accompanying these sardine shoals,” said Anderson -Reade.

“The Board will continue to monitor the movement of the shoals and will manage the shark safety gear in consultation with the coastal municipalities that are affected,” said Anderson -Reade.

CEO of South Coast Tourism Justin Mackrory said the sardine activity was good for tourism in the region.

“It is great that the run has commenced and we trust that more shoals will arrive. This adds much value to our Sardine Season, which goes beyond the arrival of shoals and predator species, because we build a substantive event and activity programme for our valued visitors,” said Mackrory.

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