The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Environmental Affairs says members of the public are not allowed to participate in the expected sardine run as COVID-19 regulations still prohibits people from swimming.

The department also warned that the shark safety gear has been lifted in preparation for the shoal. Department spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya requested fishermen to ensure that they have a valid permit at all times.

“They spotted thin pockets of sardines between wander Beach and Port Edward but mostly further off shore. Nomusa Dube Ncube has indicated that the KZN Sharks board has lifted the Sharks safety gear. This is in preparations for sardines. As per COVID- 19 regulation swimming is prohibited therefore for your safety please be warned not to venture out at any beach between Port Edward in the south and Richards Bay in the north. Fishermen must ensure that they have a valid permit.”

Sardines spotted off Port Edward coast

Sardines have been spotted at Port Edward on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, and are expected to make their way to the Durban coastline.

Last week, large concentrations of sardines were seen off the Eastern Cape Coast between East London and Mazeppa Bay, during winter colder sea temperatures schools of sardines move from the Agulhas Bank at the Southern Cape up the coast to KwaZulu-Natal.

In KwaZulu-Natal’s shallower waters it culminates in the well known sardine run.

Local fishing expert Adam Kamder says although the sardine fever is running high, fisher folk are fearing the lockdown regulations may dampen their spirits.

Kamder says, “ At the moment the sardines are just off Port Edward. We are not sure how the sardine run is actually going to pan out because of the regulations and the restrictions placed on netters, so we are still waiting for clarity”