Crates of sardines netted at Ramsgate on Monday morning. Photo: Facebook/ @brianwilkins
Crates of sardines netted at Ramsgate on Monday morning. Photo: Facebook/ @brianwilkins

Sardines playing hide-and-seek with locals

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jun 8, 2020

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Durban - Are the sardines playing a game of hide-and-seek with locals? It seems so. 

According to Acting HOD of Operations at the KZN Sharks Board, Greg Thompson, considering reports of intense activity received between East London and the Kei River mouth a few weeks ago, the lack of action spotted during a sardine observation flight on Monday, was confusing. 

Nevertheless, Thompson said this type of scenario was not uncommon and could change overnight. 

"There is always a chance that they might have moved offshore into deeper water, for various reasons. When this occurs, they can easily move through without being detected. Once again this proves just how elusive these little fish can be," he said. 

Thompson said on Wednesday, the KZNSB obtained a permit to conduct a flight after receiving reports about sardine-related activity from the Water Fall Bluff area continuing through to the Hole in the Wall. 

"Cape gannets were seen throughout this stretch but there was no extensive concentration of gannets diving into the water in any particular area. Activity seen was that of small rafts of birds sitting on the water, some were flying around with some diving. There were five fairly large pods of Bottlenose dolphins but no large pods of common dolphins," he said. 

Thompson said during the flight, numerous small thin pockets of fish were spotted on a slightly deeper depth between Winklespruit and Hibberdene. 

"Seine netters were successful in the Illovo Beach area with small quantities of sardines in some nets and mixed bait fish in others. This sporadic activity behind the surf zone continued through to Sunday. There were several attempts to net at Scottburgh on Saturday and Sunday with little or no apparent success," he said. 

"We are hoping to obtain additional clearances in order to continue with our sardine flight patrols this week. Due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 national lockdown and in accordance with lockdown legislation and regulations, all shark safety gear was removed on March 24. We have not been given a date as to when the beaches will be opened. Only then will we plan the installation of shark safety gear," Thompson said. 


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