The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board says there has been some sardine activity between Illovo beach and Pennington beach. This year has seen the largest sardine shoals, mostly along the KZN south coast.

The board’s Acting Head of Operations, Greg Thompson, says so far there has been a report of about 50 crates netted on Saturday.

“So far I’ve heard of only one netting that took place at Pennington Skibuck club. It was just I think about 50 crates and then again at 80 in the Illovo beach area. We’ve also heard of activity in the UMgababa area but I haven’t heard of any confirmed netting there yet. So at least there’s a little bit of action between Illovo beach and Pennington, if you want sardines still,” says Thompson.

On Friday, small pockets of sardines were spotted along the Durban Beachfront. Fishermen are taking advantage of the bumper sardine season that’s bringing along with it big game fish.

Local fishing enthusiast, Sanjay Ramsarup, says the arrival of the sardines in Durban could spell a bumper fishing weekend.

“Sardines have made their way to Durban with a few small pockets being sighted. Sardines have been netted along the south coast between Toti all the way down to Port Edward. Blue Lagoon has produced a few decent sized shad at night with shoal cob close to the north bank on sardine and chokka. Silver bream, stumpie and the odd grunter along the Durban beachfront on sea lice and sardine belly. There were reports of bronze bream, stone bream, shad, sliver bream and lots of caranteen between Toti all the way down to Port Edward with reports of a few large game fish on Live bait. Please remember to tidy up the beaches before you leave,” says Ramsarup.

Last week, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries issued guidelines to be followed by fishermen in KwaZulu-Natal with the sardine season in full swing. 30 individual and commercial right holders as well as 45 small-scale fishing co-operatives have been granted permits to catch sardines.

Department Spokesperson Albi Modise says the guidelines are geared to ensure adherence to COVID-19 regulations, while allowing fishermen to earn a living.

“One of the measures is risk assessment. it is important that right holders regularly conduct risk assessment to update their operational procedure, also preventative measure by ensuring that there is a temperature screen as well as sanitizing of hands should also be part of the protocol for all crews before they enter the vessel. Any crew member with temperatures above the 38 degrees or more should not be allowed in the vessel. In as far as personal protective clothing is concerned, right holders should provide all crew members with masks and sanitizers during the fishing operation,” says Modise.