Pilot sardine shoal surprise for South Coast hunters

2015-06-05 07:26
Steven Moodley, Norman Naidoo and Mickey Ramiah at Margate yesterday netting sardines.

Steven Moodley, Norman Naidoo and Mickey Ramiah at Margate yesterday netting sardines. (Precious Gumede)

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A “PILOT” sardine shoal has come from out of the blue and hit the South Coast, befuddling experts.

Local sardine hunters in Margate netted over 100 crates from just beyond the backline of the tourist coastline but it is unclear whether any more shoals are likely to follow with no activity having been spotted along the coastline this week.

A crate, a term used in the sardine industry, can hold between 29 and 32 dozen sardines.

KZN Shark Board operations head Mike Anderson-Reade said due to the inclement weather rolling up the coastline, it has prevented them from flying along the coast to see if more shoals can be spotted.

“It was a complete surprise as there had been no sign of activity. They came out of the blue and are often called a Pirate Shoal. We don’t know where they have come from,” he said.

Anderson-Reade said the shoal could have entered from multiple points and been driven up the coastline by the cold front and howling south westerly winds expected to reach gale force over the next few days.

But he said with the rough seas predicted, with swells as big as 10 feet along the coastline, this could also mean residents may not see the sardines again.

“Several years ago, we had a similar situation where an early shoal appeared and the ocean turned rough shortly afterwards with the sardines not returning. But sardines are unpredictable.”

The KZN coastline is expecting a battering over the next few days with gale force winds having reached Margate by yesterday afternoon.

The Sharks Board has removed almost all the nets across the coastline except along the Durban central southern beaches and Umhlanga Rocks.

“We removed the Margate nets yesterday morning and fortunately just in time before the shoal arrived,” he said.

Local fisherman Mickey Remiah said, “Its so good to see the sardines.

“It has been such a long time, five years by my memory and finally they remembered us,” said Remaih

Read more on:    margate  |  sardines

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