Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sardine Run fever

The South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal is in the grips of "sardine fever". Every year in June or July, millions of sardines gather in shoals along the shores of the eastern Cape and then move up in a northerly direction, along the coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Depending on water temperatures and various other unpredicatable factors, they often come very close to the shore and sometimes even "beach".

These fish are followed up the coast by in excess of 20 000 dolphins, roughly 100 000 Cape Gannets and thousands upon thousands of sharks and game fish. It is a spectacle to behold!

The arrival of the "sards" sends our area into a frenzy. Commercial fishermen net the sardines and sell them by the crater load. Recreational fishermen gather them for bait. Many holidaymakers come to the South Coast at this time of year, on the off-chance that they will be here to watch and enjoy some of the fun and the hype.

If the sardines happen to beach it is a free-for-all, normally sensible, sedate people have been known to head to the beach with buckets and any other likely receptacle they can lay their hands on and wade into the water to grab their share of the elusive little fish.

At this time of year there is a "Sardine Hotline" (082-284-9495) you can dial, for a daily update on the progress of the fish, the local radio news station provides regular updates and the tourism association organises various events in honour of the arrival of these special visitors. Of course this all falls a little flat if the sardines don't put in an appearance, as has happened for the last couple of years! This year they seem to be co-operating though, so here's hoping for some spectacular sightings!

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by Rockyeda


Fifi said...

Oh yes....... I remember following the sardine trail with the 'at the time" boyfriend! Very exciting! We were just observers having alot of fun!

addie said...

OH!!!, what a pity it will probably be all over by the time we get to KZN for the school holidays!!!

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