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Sharks Board tracks sardine activity

Cape Gannets were seen along the coast but there was no extensive concentration of gannets diving into the water in any particular area.

THE KZN Sharks Board was granted a permit to conduct a sardine observation flight into the Eastern Cape on Wednesday, 3 June, where the sardine related activity started from the Water Fall Bluff area continuing through to the Hole in the Wall.

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Acting HOD of operations, Greg Thompson, said Cape Gannets were seen throughout this stretch but there was no extensive concentration of gannets diving into the water in any particular area.

“Activity seen was that of small rafts of birds sitting on the water, some were flying around with some diving. There were five fairly large pods of Bottlenose dolphins but no large pods of Common dolphins. Considering the reports of intense activity received between East London and the Kei River mouth a few weeks ago, the lack of action spotted on this flight was confusing. Nevertheless, this type of scenario is not uncommon and can change overnight,” said Thompson.

Thompson said during this flight numerous small thin pockets of fish were spotted on a slightly deeper depth between Winklespruit and Hibberdene.

On this particular day Seine netters were successful in the Illovo Beach area with small quantities of sardines in some nets and mixed bait fish in others.

This sporadic activity behind the surf zone continued through to Sunday, 7 June.

“There were several attempts to net at Scottburgh on Saturday and Sunday with little or no apparent success. We are only reporting on reliable and confirmed information received and the best way to get sardine netting information is from the netters themselves as they are in constant communication with each other regarding the movements of the sardines. We are hoping to obtain additional clearances in order to continue with our sardine flight patrols this week,” he said.

Due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 national lockdown and in accordance with lockdown legislation and regulations, all Shark Safety Gear was removed on 24 March.

“We have not been given a date as to when the beaches will be opened. Only then will we plan the installation of shark safety gear,” he said.



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