UPDATE: Just got a press release from the KZN Sharks Board, saying that the sardine shoals could hit Durban by Thursday – that’s in just two days. (Their earlier statement, retained below, said it would only likely happen next week).
Apparently there has been massive shoal activity along the South Coast, near Pennington, which the Board means the fish could hit Amanzimtoti this week already.
Here’s the statement (and read further down for the one I posted that was sent out yesterday):
As expected, the small shoals of sardines seen yesterday off the Hibberdene area have moved northwards up to Park Rynie extending through to Pennington on the KZN south coast.
Extensive netting has taken place with the bulk of fish being netted at Pennington. Some large nets of 200-300 baskets were taken and the fish are still commanding a price of R600 per basket. We expect these fish to move northwards overnight possibly reaching as far north as Amanzimtoti by Thursday. A sardine flight revealed a large gathering of sardine predators off Port Grosvernor off the Wild Coast. This is more to the north of the usual Waterfall Bluff holding area and we expect these fish to continue onto the KZN coast over the next week. Further south we were greeted by a spectacle of thousands of Cape Gannets and dolphins stretching in a continuous line for about 6kms from Brazen Head to just north of the Umtata River. This is a massive shoal of sardines which, if they continue onto the coast of KZN may produce a spectacular bumper run. The KZNSB will continue to monitor this shoal as it has a direct bearing on decisions regarding the timing of the placement of shark safety gear along the South Coast.
As a result of the fast moving action on the upper South Coast all shark safety gear south of Durban has been removed for the moment and bathers are advised to consult with the lifesavers prior to entering the sea at popular beaches.
—- earlier post —-
Received this press release from the KZN Sharks Board, saying that some sardines had been netted near Margate. It was a small shoal, but it does mean that the annual sardine run is getting closer and closer to Durban – in fact, it could be about a week away.
Here’s the press release:
We have just conducted a flight down the South Coast and are able to confirm the first sightings of sardines on the KZN coast.
Small pockets of sardines, commonly referred to as “pilot shoals” have made an appearance between Mfazazana (just to the north of Hibberdene) and Margate on the lower south coast of KZN. Unfortunately water visibility in the area is fairly poor however sardines are visible when they make the surface. Netting has taken place at Hibberdene, first net out consisted of 25 baskets. Other netters are attempting to net sardines at Banana beach and Hibberdene. No bird activity with these shoals. Approximately 500 common dolphins moved through the Margate area during the early morning. There appears to be a number of sharks in amongst the sardines however these are not easily identified due to the poor water visibility. This is not the main shoal of sardines and we would expect this early activity to move relatively quickly northwards over the next few days. The water visibility is fairly good from Ifafa north so as the fish move further northwards they should become more visible to the public.
All shark safety gear has been removed from Umgababa south. Beach goers on the south coast of KZN are advised to consult with the lifeguards before entering the water.