Sardine frenzy continues as more netters flock to beachfront

THE sardine frenzy continued into its second week yesterday as netters flocked to the Durban beachfront with crates ready in hand.

About 400 baskets of the "greatest shoal on earth" had been netted on Monday, with some describing it as one of the busiest days since the sardine run began last Monday.

"Yesterday and Sunday were the busiest and we expect Durban to produce very well today also," KwaZulu-Natal sharks board operations head Mike Anderson-Reade said.

"The beachfront area and promenade has been a hive of activity and everyone is joining in. It's a hell of a lot of fun and Durban is handling it extremely well."

The weekend was not so busy, though, with only 10 baskets being netted at Addington beach. Prices of baskets varied in different regions and held an average tag of R300.

Anderson-Read said sardine activity over the next few days would stretch from Ballito in the north of Durban to Scottburgh on the province's South Coast.

Anderson-Reade said many people had described the 2010 run as the best in 30 years.

"Well, it's one of the best for Durban but definitely not the South Coast. Over the past few years the South Coast always got the lion's share of the fish, while Durban did poorly."

Durban's last three runs, he recalled, were in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

"Since then it has not been that intense," Anderson-Reade said.

He said he had "no idea" why Durban had done well this year, but jokingly noted that it was not because of the World Cup showdown.

Anderson-Reade, who has been dealing with fish for the past 32 years, said none of the shoals seen this year had beached.

"It's very seldom that shoals beach. The last time sardines beached was in 1984 on the Wild Coast. Since then, a little had come out near San Lameer but that was it. But now they come close enough for netters to access them," said Anderson-Reade.

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