The Latest Update on the Sardine Run and Shark Nets at KZN Beaches.
The KZN Sharks Board undertook an observation flight on Wednesday to try and determine where the shoals of sardines that are normally near to or off the KZN coast by July each year are. Unfortunately no sardines or associated predators were seen.
To date KZN Sharks Board staff have not seen any confirmed shoals of sardines off the KZN coast however this may change at any time. Sardine shoals have arrived off KZN as late as in August on a few occasions in past years and we shall have to wait and see what the weeks ahead bring.
According to a report on the ECR website the KZN Sharks Board says there is still some hope that sardines could make an appearance along the province’s coastline this year. Some shoals in previous years have arrived as late as August and September.
The board’s Mike Anderson-Reade believes the sardines have not arrived due to water temperatures. He says there have been several false alarms with other species of fish being mistaken for sardines.
Anderson-Reade says strong winds and cold spells could assist by pushing the fish closer to the shore.
“There are fish that we are aware of in the Eastern Cape. They are netting in Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay, but that doesn’t help us up here.
“Why the fish haven’t made their way to the coast of KZN, at this stage its a bit of a mystery. I don’t think we should be too worried at this stage. We still hope, but things are looking a bit bleak at his stage” he said.
A press release issued by the Sharks Board stated the following:
The KZNSB’s interest in monitoring the annual sardine run lies in ensuring that the shark safety gear in place off protected beaches is managed ahead of the movement of the fish. This is necessary to minimise captures of sharks and other predators that follow these shoals in vast numbers.
The Province of KwaZulu-Natal is blessed with relatively mild winters and warm sea temperatures and as a result many visitors flock to KZN at this time of the year. The KZNSB attempts to keep bathing open at the protected beaches for as long as is practically possible to accommodate both local beach user groups and visitors to the province. This however can be a difficult task due to the unpredictability of the movement of the sardine shoals.
All shark safety gear remains in place and bathing is open at all of the 37 protected beaches along the KZN coastline. The KZNSB will continue to monitor activity in the days and weeks ahead.