Sightseeing

ID #3709

Sardine Migration, Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

The annual migration of sardines up the coast from the Agulhas Banks to Kwa-Zulu Natal is, according to Sir David Attenborough, the largest animal migration on the planet.

From April through June each year, shoals leave their home on the Agulhas Banks and move up the coast feeding on plankton.   They are up to 15-km long, 3-km wide and 40-m deep and contain trillions of fish. Approximately 25000 dolphins and 100000 Cape gannet as well as thousands of sharks, whales and gamefish follow them, providing anglers with a bountiful harvest. 

Harried by predators from below and seabirds from above, the sardines rise to the surface in an attempt to escape. One way to see shoals is from the decks of fishing boats that put to sea from harbours along the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal coast. However, they sometimes come close inshore on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast in June. When this happens, spectators gather on the shore to witness the event. Many rush into the water to scoop up as many as possible with whatever is handy. Note that, during the migration, shark nets are removed from beaches so as not to interfere with the phenomenon (and to avoid damaging the nets). An opportunity to witness this migration should not be missed. Alan McIver AMSardine


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Last update: 2014-05-11 03:24
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.2

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