SARDINE FEVER HITS KWAZULU NATAL COAST

The annual sardine run that takes place along the KwaZulu Natal coastline is once again in full swing. The sardines (pilchards) migrate up the east coast in there millions, followed by dolphins, whales, gamefish and hundreds of big sharks plus thousands of sea birds that feed on the sardines. The run starts in early June and continues into July. This season 2010 the run looked like it was not going to happen owing to warm sea temperatures. Luckily northeast winds cooled the sea temperatures to below the 20 celsius mark with 18 being the magical number.

Sardines at Addington Beach Sardines at Addington Beach Sardines at Addington Beach Sardines at Addington Beach Sardines at Addington Beach Sardines at Addington Beach Sardines at Addington Beach Sardines at Addington Beach Sardines at Addington Beach

There are numerous seine netting teams as seen in the pictures which were taken at Addington Beach off Durban. They launch their boats through the surf and drop a net around the sardine shoal. The net is then pulled in from the shore with many bystanders lending a hand and taking a handful or so of sardines as their due. These sardines are bought on the beach by fish buyers and are then rushed to the big centres to be sold by the dozen. Shore and boat anglers are also out in full force during this period and the south coast takes on a carnival like atmosphere during this period. Many locals take leave during the run and holiday makers plan their holidays to coincide with the run.

The sardines make good eating. The fish is scaled and gutted, rolled in flour that has been spiced to your taste and then deep fried until crisp. The whole fish is eaten with the head being very tasty. There is no other place on earth where a phenomenon such as this takes place and it is worth making the effort to experience it. Safe diving, John little.