Father’s Day brings bounty of sardines to the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast

The Father’s Day weekend was awash with more silver fish as the bumper 2020 Sardine Run continued its course along the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) South Coast.

Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) reported a number of sightings and seine netting along the coast, and commended fishermen for remaining Covid-19 compliant and showing generosity of spirit during these tough times.

Seine netters from Team Moonlight and Team Vees1 showed true camaraderie on Sunday, 21 June, as they opened up their seine nets at Illovo and Amanzimtoti beaches, providing the public with free fish.

This forms part of the commercial fishing licence’s social responsibility requirements, but the teams feel it is important to share this generous bounty with others.

Commenting on the contributions, one of the team members, Jace Govender, said: “The Sardine Run has been fantastic this year, large shoals of sardines made their way from the Eastern Cape. This has been one of the best runs over the past 20 years on the KZN south coast – and there are still more sardines to come.”

He said the teams did a Father’s Day giveaway, as part of their ongoing sardine giveaways, with the Father’s Day one an extra special treat: “We gave half the net away – about 400 crates – to the public, for them to enjoy. And we also made donations of crates to the informal settlements at Umlazi and Isipingo.”

The increased Sardine Run activity has brought with it a spike in other marine animal activity. Dr Ryan Daly of the Oceanographic Research Institute, said he had noticed interesting behaviour by spinner sharks in the area.

“Diving this past weekend, there were so many spinner sharks inshore,” said Daly. “It’s interesting to see because we don’t often get the big, mature spinner sharks inshore. But, with the Sardine Run and this year’s volume of fish, we’re seeing more of them inshore than usual. They’ve been joined by the dusky sharks and black-tip sharks, which are usually found near Aliwal Shoal.”

CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT), Phelisa Mangcu said the ocean had been an incredible source of food security during such a challenging time: “We have experienced a bumper Sardine Run this year, the likes of which haven’t been seen on the KZN South Coast for many years.

We are so grateful that, during a time when people are facing financial difficulties of food scarcity, the ocean has truly delivered to our local communities and families.”

She said that, aside from the commercial seine netting, recreational anglers were enjoying some of the best fishing at the many spots along the gorgeous coastline: “Our local fishermen welcomed the announcement that recreational fishing is allowed in Advanced Level 3, with permits.

Anglers have certainly been making the most of this new regulation. We are also pleased to see that they are practising the required health-and-safety protocols, including wearing of masks, regular hand sanitising and social distancing.”

Members of the public are welcome to support the seine netters by buying crates of sardines directly; or enjoying this local flavour at the many restaurants and eateries that are currently operational, the full list of which is available on the USCT website www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za.

USCT is keeping everyone connected to the Sardine Run digitally during lockdown by uploading videos, images and up-to-date information.

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