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Durban – Will the sardines be here for Christmas? This is the question on everyone’s lips after hundreds of sardines were netted off the uShaka pier in Durban on Monday. According to Sunday Tribune, there were several crates netted on Friday and Saturday, near the Durban Ski Boat Club near South Beach. The silvery fish also made a showing late last month where just over 100 crates were filled.
Experts believe the cooler weather patterns could be the reason for the fish making their way to our shores later than usual.
The spokesperson for the South African Association for Marine Biological Research, Ann Kunz, said while it was very unusual for sardines to come close enough inshore to be netted so late in the season, shoals can be found off the Durban coast for a large percentage of the year. Kunz said research done by the late Dr Alan Connell, who regularly collected plankton samples off Park Rynie throughout the year, showed that the highest concentration of sardine eggs that he found was normally during the month of October.
“Sardines prefer cooler waters of around 18°C, which off the KwaZulu-Natal coast is generally found in deeper waters further offshore,” she said.
Kunz said this was where sardines spent most of their time and they also spawned at these depths, with their eggs floating to the surface and being carried southwards by the current.
Sardines have been netted in Durban at the weekend. Picture: Jayce Govender
“While it is impossible to know exactly what caused the sardines to come to shallow water, it was, in all likelihood, water-temperature related.”
“It is pretty late in the year to have them here nevertheless it is a welcome sight to have them here. Everyone is cashing in and having some fun,”said Jayce Govender of the Advanced Sport Fishing Network.