By: Judy Mann
For an update on the sardines we asked ORI Scientist Dr Ryan Daly to tell us what has been happening. He and other ORI scientists have been on the coast this week tagging fish and sharks, and diving to retrieve acoustic receivers.
“The first sign of sardines this season started at the end of May as the sea temperature started to drop below 22 degrees. After sporadic netting of small pockets of “pilot” sardine shoals throughout early June, a bigger pocket of fish arrived on the lower south coast this week, Monday the 21st of June. This signalled the arrival of hundreds of sharks and some big nets being hauled around the Pumula beach area.’ said Ryan.
He added that it’s been incredible to see good biomass of sardines coming up the coast with big shoals travelling northwards past Amanzimtoti on Wednesday and all the way up to Ballito. With the arrival of the first big shoals on Monday and frenetic netting activity, hundreds of large grey (dusky) sharks were seen close to the beach eating sardines. It was a bonanza for these sharks that follow the sardines closely and appear on our shores every winter.” Ryan took this amazing video of some of the sharks and sardines.
While no-one knows how long the sardines will be around for, perhaps it is worth a trip down the coast this weekend – just in case the sardines are still around.