Coast KZN

15 Jun 2018

Get ready! The sardines are getting closer

Nosipho Nyide (Daily News) Picture: Sardine Run

The sardines are moving closer to Durban according to the KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board which has observed increased activity in the Waterfall Bluff area 45 kilometres south of KZN and Port St Johns.

The Boards Head of Operations Mike Anderson-Reade said the recent sightings were the most positive he had seen in a long time.

“The first small pockets of sardines were spotted in the Kelso area followed by few smaller ones off Mtwalume and Ifafa. These were clearly visible due to the very clear water visibility and there was no predator activity seen with these shoals,” said Anderson-Reade.

One of the commercial seine netters managed to fill 500 crates in the Kelso area.

“The majority of the fish netted were sardines. There were other shoaling baitfish species mixed with them which is common with the early shoals,” said Anderson-Reade.

During their monitoring flight to Port St Johns on Wednesday, credible reports of sardine associated with predator activity was spotted in the Waterfall Bluff area.
According to the Sharks Board numerous shoals of various species of baitfish remain visible off the KZN coast.

“It was very interesting to see what we were sure were small pockets of sardines off Ramsgate, Mtwalume and Umtentweni. These small shoals were easily visible just behind back-line with a few also seen in the mid break. ”

A  mixture of a few thousand common and bottle-nose dolphins were seen very close inshore stretching from Mbotyi to Port St Johns all moving northwards. Numerous pockets of sardines were observed just behind the back line from Mkhambathi southwards to Port St Johns.

The board said it was unusual that very few Cape gannets were seen with this activity but it suspected that higher concentrations of the birds are probably further south with the larger shoals of fish that were seen at the Cob Inn/Mazeppa Bay area last Thursday.

The Sharks Board monitors the annual sardine run which is accompanied by large groups of predators to ensure that the shark safety gear is managed to minimise any negative environmental impact of the gear.