Coast KZN

30 Jun 2021

Sardine Update: Decent size shoals of sardines seen between Umdoni Point and Sezela

Shona Aylward (South Coast Herald)

The KZN Sharks Board conducted a sardine observation flight through to Hluleka Reserve in the Eastern Cape waters yesterday (Tuesday).

The first sign of sardine activity was between Virginia and the Durban Beach Front. Greg Thompson of KZN Sharks Board said these were thin pockets scattered throughout the area on a slightly deeper line without any predator activity. These particular pockets were moving south at midday but as we know they do change direction when it suits them.

There were three successful nettings on the Durban beaches. As we continued south to the area between Umdoni Point and Sezela, there were decent size shoals of sardines seen scattered throughout the area just behind the backline and in the surf zone. Some of these pockets were being harassed by sharks and gamefish. It was reported that Yellowfin tuna were seen feeding on one of the pockets very close to the rocks at Umdoni Point.

There was one net landed at Sezela, but the other attempts were unsuccessful. There were also large pods of Bottlenose dolphin seen in this area. We then continued to see small pockets in the surf zone and back line through to Hibberdene.

The next concentration of sardines was between Leisure Bay and Port Edward where about 70 small pockets were seen one to two kilometers offshore, all moving north, with no visible predator activity.

The next sign of activity was in the Eastern Cape waters between Mkambathi and Luputhana. Here there were numerous pods of Bottlenose and Common dolphins together with scattered gannet activity, all moving north. Most of this action was slightly deeper than usual for this area.

Further south between Sugarloaf Rock and Hluleka there were also large concentrations of around 1500 Bottlenose but no sign of common dolphins. There were also thin pockets of sardines/baitfish visible on the surface in this area.

The Sharks Board will continue to closely monitor sardine activity and remove or replace shark safety gear as required. Please confirm the bathing status with the lifeguards on duty before entering the water.