UPDATE: Sharks Board on high alert as sardines appear at Mazeppa Point

Sardines are on the move.

The KZN Sharks Board jetted off on their second monitoring flight of the 2018 sardine season last week, as sardines are soon expected to make their first appearance off the KZN coastline.

The Board’s interest in the annual run is to ensure that any shoals of sardines that are accompanied by large groups of predators are monitored and the shark safety gear is managed to minimise damages to the gear.

“Numerous shoals of various species of baitfish can still be seen off the KZN coast on a daily basis especially during periods of calm sea conditions,” said KZN Sharks Board Head of Operations, Mike Anderson-Reade.

“Aerial observations showed the highest concentration of these shoals to be in the area between Umhlanga Rocks and Amanzimtoti and secondly off Port Edward on the south coast.

“Small numbers of sardines will often be found among these other species of baitfish.”

Also read: Sharks Board prepare for possible sardine run

The first positive signs of heavy predator activity which is normally associated with sardines was seen about 5kms to the north of Cobb Inn stretching southwards to just south of Mazeppa Point on the Eastern Cape coast.

“Thousands of common dolphin and Cape gannets were observed diving and feeding on what we suspect were shoals of sardines.”

“Although these were very positive signs this area is still some 200kms south of KwaZulu-Natal and if these shoals do indeed move northwards it may well be some time before they eventually reach KZN,” said Anderson-Reade.

“This however does not exclude the possibility of some small shoals of sardines currently occurring off the KZN coast.”

Shark safety gear remains in place at all protected beaches along the coast and all beaches with the exception of certain central Durban beaches which are closed for the sand replenishment operations remain open for bathing.

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The North Coast Courier

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