The sardines have arrived!
The first netting of the 2020 sardine run took place at Ramsgate on Monday morning.
Many descended on the beach to experience the unique thrill of the phenomenon.
Crates are going for between R1000 and R1500 each.
Under Level 3 lockdown, licenced seine netters are able to operate as long as they follow the precautionary measures implemented at businesses, including wearing masks, ensuring correct hygiene procedures and physical distancing.
Greg Thompson, Acting HOD of Operations at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, said in a statement on Monday: “On the morning of Sunday 31 May 2020 we received the first reports of sardines entering the KZN waters.
“These early pockets of sardines are referred to as the pilot shoals. They are normally small, thin pockets of fish which arrive ahead of the main concentration or shoal.
“These fish tend to move quickly without all the associated predators. It was very interesting to hear that yesterday ’s pockets at Port Edward were fairly large and there was an abundance of sharks feeding on them.
“As indicated in my first report of the season last week, a cold front can often enhance the movements of the shoals and cause them to appear inshore. I am sure that this activity will have all the seine netters focussed and ready for action this week.
“By Sunday afternoon the pockets were already spotted moving past the Pumula Beach area, which is 15 km north of Port Shepstone.
“On Monday morning 1 June 2020 we have received reports of sardines in amongst the rocks at Marina Beach just north of Glenmore and the netting of sardines at Ramsgate.
“Given the speed at which the sardines are moving, there is every chance that more netting could take place anywhere between Port Edward and Pennington in next few days.
“There have been numerous reports of large masses of sardine related activity in the Eastern Cape. Last week the Morgan’s Bay Hotel reported a large concentration of gannets during the cold front period.
“Many people are saying that this is the most activity which has been seen in that area for many years. The Port St Johns locals have also seen an increase in gannets and dolphins moving into the area over the past few days.
“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. As a result, no sardine surveillance flights, or operational boating activity has been permitted. Therefore, no physical monitoring of sardine activity has been undertaken by the Board.”
Photos by Justin Klusener Photography