Coast KZN

25 May 2022

Sardines are headed to KZN’s shores from the Eastern Cape

Molaole Montsho (IOL) Picture: Leon Lestrade. There are positive indication that sardines are making their way up from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.

Rustenburg – There are positive indications that the sardines are making their way up from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence said on Wednesday. The KZN Sharks Board said it conducted an observation flight into the Eastern Cape waters to assess the movement of the sardine shoals thus far. The flight departed from Virginia Airport and turned at Hole in the Wall.

“The water was very discoloured for most of the coastline, especially in KZN due to the latest flooding. However, the visibility improved as we got into the Eastern Cape and from the Msikaba area the activity started to pick up, which was good to see,” acting head of operations division Greg Thompson said in a statement.

“The most favourable water visibility on this flight was only approximately 3-4 m and this was in the entire area between Hole in the Wall and Umgazana.

“These indications are all positive, that the sardines are making their way up from the Eastern Cape towards KwaZulu-Natal. Especially when you take the increase in shark activity at Grosvenor into consideration. There is also a good possibility that we may have missed activity further north towards KZN due to the poor visibility.”

Thompson said there have been many occasions in the past when predictions and opinions have been totally incorrect.

“These fish can move through in the deep or in the discoloured water that we are experiencing at the moment, out of sight of most of the predators and arrive in KZN without warning. Then there is always the possibility that they continue moving north on the deeper line and we don’t get to see them at all.”

The next flight to East London was planned for June 2, depending on weather conditions.

According to Wikipedia, the KwaZulu-Natal sardine run of southern Africa occurs from May through July, when billions of sardines – or more specifically the southern African pilchard, Sardinops sagax – spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the east coast of South Africa.

Their sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy along the coastline. The run, containing millions of individual sardines, occurs when a current of cold water heads north from the Agulhas Bank up to Mozambique, where it then leaves the coastline and goes further east into the Indian Ocean.