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Sardine fever hits KZN south coast

10 June 2015 - 17:41 By Nivashni Nair

Silver ribbons of sardines have streamed into KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday‚ infecting the south coast with the much-anticipated “sardine fever”. Though the pockets of the tiny fish were small entrepreneurial fishermen flocked to beaches at Umgababa‚ Illovo and Karridene to net them.KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board's Michael Anderson-Reade‚ who has been with the “lookout crew”‚ said: "There has been a substantial increase in sardine activity on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline over the past two days. Netting of sardines has taken place this morning at Umgababa and Illovo beaches on the upper south coast. Five nets of about 80 crates of sardines each have successfully been caught by the seine netters."A monitoring flight undertaken by the Sharks Board earlier this morning revealed many small pockets of sardines mostly in the mid break area of the surf zone between Umbogintwini and Ifafa beach."Unfortunately there is still a fairly strong 1.5m swell along the coast which has resulted in turbid inshore visibility making it quite difficult for the seine netters to spot and access the fish‚" said Anderson-Reade.He said the prospects for sardines to arrive off the Durban beachfront area during the next few days appeared to be good."However movement of these fish is always very difficult to forecast. There is still an abundance of sardine associated activity south of KwaZulu-Natal extending from Mkhambati through to Waterfall Bluff in the Eastern Cape and there is a good possibility that some of these shoals will move onto the lower south coast during the forthcoming week‚" Anderson-Reade explained.Anderson-Reade said after two years without the annual sardine run‚ Wednesday's activity "looks very promising that we will have a better run this year”.Each winter‚ most often in June or July‚ millions of silvery sardines leave the cold waters off Cape Point and make their way to KwaZulu-Natal.And each year‚ holiday-makers flock to the province to catch a glimpse of the spectacle‚ which includes sharks‚ birds and dolphins in a feeding frenzy‚ preying on the sardines...

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