The unexpected arrival of sardine shoals in Margate on the South Coast on Thursday was short-lived due to bad weather throughout the province.
The sardines had caught everyone by surprise. Even the KZN Sharks Board was caught off guard as it had not yet removed all the safety nets.
The sharks board said it had been preparing for the sardine shoals and had removed most of its safety gear at most beaches, except for Margate, a hot spot for tourists.
But on Thursday, the sardines arrived unexpectedly and more than 10 dusky sharks were trapped and killed in Margate.
The prospect of an early big catch for locals, who are always on standby at this time of year, was short-lived.
Fewer shoals of sardines than expected have been seen since Thursday. Locals make money at this time of year selling sardines to motorists in Margate and surrounding areas.
KZN Sharks Board head of operations, Mike Anderson-Reade, said the organisation didn’t expect to see more sardine shoals until the weather cleared.
“Although the sardines came unexpectedly, it was a smaller number than usual and this was due to the bad weather conditions,” he added. “The strong winds and high sea pressure would make it almost impossible for more sardines to come.
“We have, however, removed all the shark safety gear at all the province’s beaches to prevent any sharks and fish from being trapped.”
The SA Weather Service this week issued a warning of strong winds and low temperatures in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Every year, between the months of June and July, millions of sardines travel from the cold oceans off South Africa’s Cape Point, hugging the shore as they make their way along the coastlines of the former Transkei and KwaZulu-Natal. in what is commonly known as the annual sardine run.