KZN Sardine Run continues to entertain with mixed nets, dolphins, sharks, whales and birds

Team moonlight netted sardines at Winklespruit Beach in Kingsburgh on the KZN south Coast on Monday. Picture: Tony Outar

Team moonlight netted sardines at Winklespruit Beach in Kingsburgh on the KZN south Coast on Monday. Picture: Tony Outar

Published Jul 1, 2024


The KZN Sharks Board says sardine shoals are now mixing with various species of bait fish and have moved further offshore.

Wayne Harrison, the acting head of department of operations for the KZN Sharks Board, said although fishermen are still netting sardines, the nets are now becoming a mixed bag with bait fish and sardines.

“It is difficult to predict where the sardines are now but we have had confirmed sightings at Glenmore and Scottburgh this morning(1 July 2024). I would however like to try and place emphasis on the activity that goes with the sardine run as this is what makes it spectacular and interesting to see,” he said.

Harrison said the 2024 Sardine Run has been good for a number of reasons.

He said the sardines have fetched a good price which remained at a reasonable value for some time.

“There were good hauls of nets and they were spread out over a number of days so the market did not get over-saturated all at once,”he said.

However, Harrison said the netting does not make the sardine run the “Greatest Shoal on Earth”.

“Netting only plays a small part of the sardine run and only takes place as we know it in KZN. Netting does attract the crowds and is a good tourism marketing tool. It is exciting for the public to watch and the netters do bring the fish onto the beach which is great for tourism and the fishermen,” he said adding that fishing has been very good this sardine run.

He further explained that the Sardine Run is famous for the diversity of activity that goes with the northbound movement of the fish.

“This year has been spectacular, especially in the early mornings with the sightings of sharks breaching, common dolphin super pods of up to a few thousand dolphin at a time, bottlenose dolphins in pods of up to 600 or more at a time. We have had sightings of Bryde’s whales feeding on the sardines, Humpback whales, Southern Right whales, Orcas in the area and so on,” said Harrison.

In addition, Harrison said there is the birding aspect of the sardine run where various types of birds follow the sardines and numerous species of Albatross can even be viewed further offshore.

Angler Jace Govender told The Mercury that the netting has been fantastic since the start of the 2024 KZN Sardine Run.

“There are four netters on the run, usually we have 15 due to the cost of fuel and salaries. Most of the netters cannot run long distances between Port Edward and Durban,” he said.

Govender said netters are averaging about 200 crates a day.

“For the next couple of weeks the conditions are looking great. There are still lots of sardines around so we should get a lot of sardines,” he said.

He said netting took place between Warner and Winklespruit beaches in Kingsburgh on the south coast on Sunday. “There were about two nets with sardines and about five nets with blanks.”

On Monday, 1 July, commercial sardine netter Tony Outar netted sardines at Winklespruit Beach.

The Mercury