Eye in the sky tracks sardines and spots ‘over a thousand dolphins’

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The KZN Sharks Board conducted a sardine observation flight into the Eastern Cape on Tuesday.

KZN Sharks Board acting head of operations Greg Thompson reported, “Most of the sardine/baitfish activity was situated between Umhlanga Rocks, Durban Beachfront and Brighton Beach on the Bluff.

“The pockets of fish in this area were mainly small, thin layers which spray on the surface every time they are harassed.

“There were no signs of any solid masses of sardines on the shallow lines where one can see from the air. However, there is always a chance that there is still a decent concentration of fish slightly further offshore.

“The only confirmed netting of actual sardines which has taken place over the past few days has been along the Durban Beachfront. Most of the nets have been reasonably small which allows for very good quality sardines and is ideal for anglers still looking for bait.

“There were still signs of sardine-related activity between the Mtentu River Mouth and Port Grosvenor, with scattered gannets and hundreds of dolphins moving north.

“The area between Umngazi and Rame Heads was also very active, with over a thousand bottlenose dolphins also all moving north and scattered rafts of gannets.

“To date this has been one of the best and most consistent sardine runs we have experienced in many years. The combination of a healthy biomass of sardines, a good following of associated predators and very good sea and weather conditions, has contributed to this year’s bumper season.

“Due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 national lockdown and in accordance with lockdown legislation and regulations, all shark safety gear was removed on 24 March.”

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