DURBAN: Seine netters hauled in a sardine shoal that filled about 500 crates, between Winklespruit and Illovo River mouth, off the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.
Netter Brahman and Tony Outar said nine groups of netters caught a large shoal, when they hauled in a shoal that filled 500 crates with sardines on Wednesday. He said the price dropped from R1 000 to R300 per crate.
Boat captain and netter Jace Govender said it was a fantastic day and a morale booster. He said the price drop was due to the size of the shoal caught.
Yesterday, the KZN Sharks Board acting head of department for operations Greg Thompson said they conducted a sardine observation flight into the Eastern Cape waters.
The first sign of sardine activity on the trip south was between Warner Beach and Karridene, where large shoals of sardines were seen scattered throughout this area, just behind the backline and in the surf zone.
“Netting took place from first light, they netted about 11 times, which amounted to about 1 650 crates of sardines. There were also reports of some game fish being landed off the beach in this area. The remainder of the KZN coast was fairly quiet but the poor water visibility did not help when trying to spot pockets of these fish, especially when they are not being followed by predators,” he said.
The next concentration of activity was in the Eastern Cape waters, between Goss Point and Mbotyi River mouth. Thompson said here there were numerous pockets of sardines, accompanied by more than 2 000 Bottlenose dolphins and about 3 000 common dolphins, together with rafts of gannets and Bryde’s whales, which are known to feed on sardines.
“There is a possibility that this concentration of activity may be another wave of fish heading towards the KZN waters. Further south, between the Mpande River Mouth and Presley’s Bay, there were also large concentrations of about 1 000 Bottlenose dolphins in the backline and about 3 000 common dolphins further offshore. There were no actual shoals of sardines visible on the surface in this area,” Thompson said.
“Weather and sea predictions are looking favourable for the next few days, so hopefully we will get to see more sardine related action this weekend. The Sharks Board will continue to closely monitor sardine activity and remove or replace shark safety gear as required,” Thompson added.
Bathing is still banned, from Port Edward to Isipingo, as a precaution due to the sardine movement.