Sardine Report 13 June 2016
The Sardine Report for 13 June 2016, compiled from many sources…photos by Gordon Date and Debbie Smith and Greg Thompson.
The usual pilot shoals and shoals of other baitfish have been spotted everywhere, from Plettenberg Bay up to KZN South Coast. This is exactly according to schedule, and with the removal of the illegal/legal foreign fishing boats off the Wild Coast lately, there is now one less barrier for the shoals to get through, as they strive to make everyone happy, and head as far north as they can.
Other barriers include the completely legal boats off Port Elizabeth and J-Bay. They pull the sardines out by the tonne after tonne. All to be exported for profit for someone.
Then there is the endless supply of sharks that converge after the sardines each year. And the Bryde’s Whale – that thing gulps as much as a Chinese trawler with every bite! The gannets account for a few tonnes. Dolphins gorge themselves properly.
Then they got the local netters with permits at the home stretch. These guys are really good after all these years chasing shoals in and out of the surf zone. Their collective catch and its profit also goes straight into someone’s pocket.
So of the 7 or 8 % of the entire sardine population that left the southern ocean to come on a jol up to the KZN Coast each year, very few survive.
But it’s the spectacle that really helps tourism. At least some operations don’t actually prey on the little fishies – and rather invite tourists from all over the world, to come and be a part of the annual sardine run. You see, the way to get right in amongst the action is to head out to sea. Some operations even allow/encourage punters to get in with the sharks and other less harmful marine animals – but you got to pay first!
But in or out of the water, as long as you are on the ocean, especially in the southern waters of Port St. Johns, you dare not miss the greatest show on earth.
Thanks to Debbie Smith, Sardine Correspondent for The Wild Coast area, and serious Dive Operator at Offshore Africa Port St. Johns. Head on over to their website for more information and booking availablity.