South Africa

Subsiding cold front could pick up lull in sardine activity in KZN

Durban - The sardine run has fizzled out with little or no sightings of the great shoals passing KwaZulu-Natal on Monday but netter are hoping that with thethe cold front moving pass pass could change the situation.

Seasoned netter Brahmanand Tony Outar said he was at Umkomaas and Karridene beaches on Monday morning but it was quiet. 

Outar said there was some sardine activity in the surf at Karridene and Mtwalume Beaches but nothing had been netted. 

"On Sunday, we put a net out between Warner Beach and Winklespruit. The current was too strong. Some of the fish spilled out of the net. We managed only half a crate. That was it. The sardine run is coming to a close. There was also very little netted along Durban beaches,"Outar said.  

The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KZNSB) acting HOD: Operations Greg Thompson stated that there is a possibility that the lull in activity is due to the weather and sea conditions which have not been ideal for sardine activity and netting. He said there is still a good chance that we may see some action once this predicted cold front from the weekend has moved through. 

The KZNSB had  conducted a sardine patrol flight on Friday through to the Hole in the Wall, in the Eastern Cape. 

Thompson said there were shoals of sardines sighted close to the backline at the Pennington Ski Boat Club, Bazely and Glenmore beach. 

There were also numerous scattered pockets of sardines/baitfish on a deeper line, in the Port Edward area on Friday morning. 

He said that throughout the Eastern Cape there were large numbers of dolphins and gannets seen, but there were no visible signs of sardines or concentrated activity. 

"The reports we have received from a dive boat operating in the Port Saint John’s area, is that they are experiencing very good bait balls on most outings with an abundance of sharks and other predators. These bait balls consist of mainly mixed baitfish and not actual sardines. Since the weekend of the 4th of July, the sardine activity on the South Coast region has been pretty quiet in comparison to the bumper action we have experienced over the past 4 weeks," Thompson said.

The only confirmed nettings were in the Pennington area last week Monday, where about 50 crates were netted. In Ramsgate on Thursday, approximately 70 crates were netted.  There was a confirmed netting at the Pennington Ski Boat Club on Friday afternoon. 

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 24 March. The KZNSB had not been given a date as to when the beaches will be opened. Only then will they plan the installation of shark safety gear. 

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