Flight to hunt for shy sardines

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nm sardine net 3 INLSA File photo

The Sharks Board was due to fly along the Eastern Cape coastline again on Wednesday in search of sardine activity, with the silver shoals yet to make an appearance in KwaZulu-Natal this year.

The board’s head of operations, Mike Anderson-Reade, said a flight on Friday had proved disappointing – with only limited sardine-related predator activity spotted between Mbotyi and Port St Johns.

Common and bottlenose dolphins were sighted, but over a large area.

“The dolphins were just milling around and no signs of feeding were observed. Unfortunately the water clarity in this area was very poor, with a visibility of less than 3m,” he said.

Anderson-Reade said it was possible that the shoals had moved back southwards, offshore, or were swimming near the seabed.

Divers reported water temperatures of 23.2C – way above the 19.5C which the sardines favour, he said. “There is a possibility, however, that... there is cooler water near the bottom.”

Anderson-Reade said that although the sardine run had occurred in June over the past few years it was not unusual for the run to occur any time from the beginning of June to late July.

In the absence of sardines, shark safety gear has been restored at Margate’s main beach, St Michaels and Hibberdene. – Daily News

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