News 11.6.2015 12:55 pm

First sardines in years netted off South Coast beach

The crew of the boat Moonlight batch their 120-crate catch of sardines off Illovo Beach, just south of Amanzimtoti at about midday on Wednesday. Pic: Michellé Izatt

The crew of the boat Moonlight batch their 120-crate catch of sardines off Illovo Beach, just south of Amanzimtoti at about midday on Wednesday. Pic: Michellé Izatt

The first sardines to be caught off the Amanzimtoti coast since 2012 were netted off Illovo Beach, in the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday.

At about noon, the skipper and crew of the Moonlight fishing boat bagged some 120 crates of the elusive silver fish. The going rate for the fish is believed to be at about R600 per crate. Fascinated beach locals formed a crowd around the seine nets as the crew of the boat crated their catch, while gulls swooped overhead to pluck any wayward fish from the waves, South Coast Sun reported.

This comes after last week’s netting of the first sardines of the season in the Margate and Uvongo area on Thursday morning, June 4. There was also some activity off Southbroom last week.

The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board’s Mike Anderson-Reade said they spotted a small pocket off Sezela and in the Port Edward bay during a flight on Monday, June 8.

“From Mkhambati to Port Grosvenor it was very busy, with between 2 000 and 3 000 dolphins and gannets,” he said. “Normally the sardines hold south of Waterfall Bluff before they move north on to the KZN coast.

“On Tuesday, we took another flight to see how far they had moved. The water was murky, and we could not see much activity, and the predators had moved south of Waterfall Bluff. There was still some activity north of Waterfall Bluff, but it was not as intense.”

The Sharks Board will undertake another flight Today and depending on the outcome of that outing, will assess whether to replace the shark nets into position south of Brighton Beach. On Tuesday they indicated there was a possibility of them re-installing the gear on the Amazimtoti main beach if the flight revealed no activity on the Upper South Coast.

“The netting on Margate last week was a complete surprise, and we feel the sardines came in from the deep and not along the coast. We will continue to play the waiting game and hope this year they will make an appearance on the Upper South Coast,” said Anderson-Reade.

– Caxton News Service

 

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