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22 Jun 2017

Amanzimtoti beach pulses with netted sardines

Michelle Izatt (South Coast Sun) Picture: Sun staffer Jabulile Msimango is all smiles as she holds up her first catch at Toti Main Beach on Thursday, 22 June.

 

Some 300 crates were netted

After a morning of sardine spotting from Winklespruit to Warner Beach, it was profoundly satisfying to happen upon a shoal that was netted and brought to shore just north of Amanzimtoti main beach about an hour ago.

Some 300 crates were netted, with the current price per crate at the R600 mark, according to the skipper who was marshalling the public while his team cleared the huge seine net of its contents.

The beach was abuzz as the public swarmed to try and catch their share of the silvery sards. A tug o war played out as the tide pulsed, making it difficult for the teams emptying the nets crate by crate. On several occasions, they were forced to swat away the hands of the eager public who insisted on making their move as the tide pushed the men and their net around.

Former Amanzimtoti policeman, Chris Hitchcock who was standing one side, commented on the melee: “It’s actually wrong – the seine netters are by law, supposed to give 10% to the public. Then you won’t have this situation where the people are crowding, making the netters’ lives difficult.”

Further up the beach behind the stacked crates of fresh fish, the fishermen stood negotiating their transactions.

Margaret Labuschagne, one of the first members of the public to see the boat make shore, was delighted to make her first-ever catch. Clearly enamoured with her luck, she told the Sun how she plucked a silvery fish from the waves while she watched the men pull the net to shore. “They were singing ‘Shosholoza’ while they pulled it in. It was awesome to watch.”

This supposedly annual but ever diminishing experience is truly something to behold – from the ‘shoals’of people on the beach to the seagulls dive-bombing the waves to catch their elusive prey, it is a privilege to witness the beach come alive as the sardine run comes to town.