USCT shares unique underwater images of bumper 2020 Sardine Run
USCT shares unique underwater images of bumper 2020 Sardine Run: The ongoing cold spell has seen sardine activity increase on the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) South Coast and Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) has been able to share some breath-taking under-water footage of the #GreatestShoalonEarth. These images and videos were taken by Dr Ryan Daly of the Oceanographic Research Institute whilst out spearfishing near Scottburgh.
“What a bonanza of fish we saw yesterday, it was overwhelming with so many sardines! As both a scientist and someone who has been following the sardines for many years, it was amazing to see the volume of sardines yesterday (Tuesday, 16 June),” explained Daly. “Certainly, it’s the most sardines I’ve ever seen on the KZN South Coast. With climate change, potential pressure from commercial fishing and shifts in the way animals respond to environments, many scientists were worried that bumper Sardine Runs were a thing of the past, so it’s fantastic to see the surge in activity. It should bode well for a great season.”
He said the pandemic meant that, unlike previous years, there hasn’t been anyone closely following sardines on the Wild Coast: “We don’t actually know how much activity there was on the Wild Coast and whether this is just a pocket that showed up on the South Coast, or if it was preceded by a much larger volume. We’ll just have to wait to see, over the next few weeks, if this is followed by even more sardines. We certainly are way overdue for a big run!”
Commenting on the recent predatory activity, Daly said the sardine volume had attracted dusky sharks, bronze whaler sharks and spinner sharks to feed on the shoals, as well as big game fish such as couta fish, tuna and snoek.
“It was great to see that people netted enough sardines for themselves but that there were still so many sardines beyond those that could be netted – what a bounty for the community and wildlife along the coast! It’s been amazing to witness the change in people’s attitudes to the sharks over the years as well,” he continued. “People were releasing sharks from the nets and showing respect for these important aquatic animals. This area is a nursery for dusky sharks in particular, which are endangered, and it was so special to see these sharks and the respect people have for them.”
CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT), Phelisa Mangcu, echoed these sentiments, stating it has been one of the best Sardine Runs the KZN South Coast has experienced in a number of years: “In addition to this being a spectacle to witness, the annual Sardine Run provides economic security for commercial fishermen, and food security for subsistence fishermen, as well as generally great fishing for our recreational anglers along the KZN South Coast shores.”
Mangcu said that the recent cold spell had proved particularly beneficial, bringing with it shoals of sardines to various locations along the coastline with netting taking place at Sezela, Ramsgate, Scottburgh, Southbroom and Pennington over the past few days: “This is only the start of this winter event, and we’re looking forward to ongoing marine activity over the coming days. USCT would like to thank everyone who is supporting our local fishermen during this time, as well as those providing support to local restaurants and cafes. We also encourage everyone to continue practising all required health-and-safety protocols, including wearing of masks, regular hand sanitising and social distancing.”
USCT is keeping everyone connected to the Sardine Run digitally during lockdown by uploading videos, images and up-to-date information. Check out the ‘South Coast Tourism’ Facebook page and @infosouthcoast on Twitter for breath-taking images of seine netters on the shore; aerial footage of shark activity by drone pilot @saltywaveslider; and underwater footage by Dr Ryan Daly. For more information about the KZN South Coast and USCT, visit www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za or download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app to find a local supplier.
Amazing imagery by…
IMAGE CREDIT: Dr Ryan Daly
About Ugu South Coast Tourism
Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) is the official destination management organisation of the Ugu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. The Ugu District comprises four local municipalities that include Umdoni, Umzumbe, Umuziwabantu and Ray Nkonyeni. USCT’s mandate is to grow tourism within the KZN South Coast. This involves implementing marketing and development initiatives that are aimed at showcasing the diverse offerings and experiences of the South Coast as tourist destination. A board of directors oversees USCT, headed by CEO, Phelisa Mangcu.
About KZN South Coast
Known as the ‘Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom’, the KZN South Coast stretches 120 kilometres from Scottburgh to Port Edward and inland to Harding. Here, the spirit of adventure can be discovered among the many cultural experiences, as well as the 35 nature trails and 58 beaches, ideal for activities like river rafting, abseiling, suspension bridges, paintball, surfing, SUP, canoeing, beach horse rides, shark cage diving and free diving. Nicknamed ‘The Golf Coast’, there are 11 golf courses on the KZN South Coast ranging in difficulty, with endless hiking, mountain biking and 4×4 trails for more rugged excursions. Promoting sustainability, the KZN South Coast has a growing agri-tourism sector that offers world-class produce and hosts tours and excursions. The region boasts a number of permanently managed Blue Flag beaches, and is home to some of the world’s top diving sites, Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks. The originality continues with the annual Sardine Run, coined the #GreatestShoalonEarth, which is the largest biomass migration on earth and a marvel to witness. The region’s many nature reserves are inhabited by indigenous bird and wildlife, and it holds the title for ‘smallest desert on earth’, The Red Desert in Port Edward. The KZN South Coast is a fast-emerging MICE destination which also plays host to a number of high-profile events including the The Bike Fest, Uvukile Gospel Festival, Ugu Jazz, Ugu Film Festival and the South Coast Fever MTB & Trail Run Series.
|Issued on behalf of: Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) Disseminated by:|
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