The greatest shoal on earth made an appearance on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast on Monday‚ with hundreds of crates of the silver fish being netted.
Fisherman Kenny Dickens said it was a very “exciting” day as the sardines were spotted on the lower south coast from Ramsgate to St Michaels.
Dickens‚ who has been fishing for about 35 years‚ said it was one of the best Sardine Runs that he had witnessed in a number of years. “We netted about 300 baskets at St Michaels.”
St Michael’s Beach lifeguard Geordie Simpkins said it was “fantastic” to see the Sardine Run after a few years.
“It was manic to see guys with their bakkies and crates driving up and down the beach‚ but it was really awesome.”
Hundreds of locals‚ armed with buckets‚ packets and crates gathered on the beach as news spread that the shoals of the sardines – a local delicacy best enjoyed marinated in masala and flash-fried – had been netted.
It’s been about five years since the last good Sardine Run was experienced in the province.
There were some tense moments as fishermen tried to keep the public away from their profitable haul but eventually relented and allowed locals to grab their share.
By mid-afternoon‚ sardines were being snapped up at R100 for three dozen at various spots around Durban.
KZN Sharks board’s head of operations‚ Mike Anderson-Reade‚ said the activity on the lower South Coast is currently ongoing and “may continue over the next few days”.
“Although there does not appear to be much predator activity accompanying these shoals‚ shark safety gear has been removed from all beaches from Hibberdene up to and including Port Edward as a precautionary measure to avoid any unnecessary captures. This gear will only be replaced as and when the sardine shoals move away.”
He urged bathers to check with local lifeguards to check whether swimming was allowed before entering the water.