Signs of sardine 200km south of KZN

THE KZN Sharks Board did its 2nd sardine monitoring flight of the 2018 sardine season on Thursday 7 June.

The board’s interest in the annual sardine run is to ensure that any shoals of sardines that are accompanied by large groups of predators are monitored and that the shark safety gear is managed accordingly to minimise any negative environmental impact of the gear.

Numerous shoals of various species of baitfish can still be seen off the KZN coast on a daily basis especially during periods of calm sea conditions.

Aerial observations showed the highest concentration of these shoals to be in the area between Umhlanga Rocks and Amanzimtoti and secondly off Port Edward on the south coast.

Small numbers of sardines will often be found among these other species of baitfish.

The first positive signs of heavy predator activity which is normally associated with sardines was seen about 5kms to the north of Cobb Inn stretching southwards to just south of Mazeppa Point on the Eastern Cape coast.

“Thousands of common dolphin and Cape gannets were observed diving and feeding on what we suspect were shoals of sardines,” said Head of  Operations, Mike Anderson-Reade.

Although these were very positive signs this area is still some 200kms south of KwaZulu-Natal and if these shoals do indeed move northwards it may well be some time before they eventually reach KZN.

This, however, does not exclude the possibility of some small shoals of sardines currently occurring off the KZN coast.

 

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  AUTHOR
Michelle Dennis
Editor

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