What is the sardine run?
I've seen talks about a great sardine run. I'm not exactly sure what this is in reference to. Is it a migratory term, or is there more to it? If someone could shed some light on this for me, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

The Sardine run happens once a year between June and July. It is becoming more and more popular with tourists who want to experience this weird and wonderful phenomenon.  It happens off the natal coast of South Africa.

The first sightings or give away is when the large shoal of Sardines has arrived is the bird life dive bombing the shoal of fish. No one knows why this event occurs as Sardines like cold water. Each year a massive ball of fish leave the main shoal and travel north up into warmer waters. This is known as the Sardine run.

The run is that every game fish runs after it from Tuna to sharks and whales. Tourists come to spot the game fish plus the dolphins and whales. They are all in one place at the same time. The shark nets have to be removed from the beaches in fear of trapping the larger fish. Swimming is not advised and is banned for this period.

The locals look forward to it as well as at some places you can wade into the water and scoop the sardines up with buckets.

Image source afridive.co.za,incredibleadventures.co.za, 2padl.com


The sardine run is a regular development of fish and predators along the Eastern Cape coastline toward the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. 

Is the Sardine Run a movement? "The biggest bio-mass movement on earth" For some years this portrayal was affixed to the sardine run, anyway the wonder of the sardine run is as yet not completely comprehended. 

Some examination recommends that sardine run includes a different stock, that produces close Park Rynie on the KZN South Coast. Others think about the sardine keep running as basically a development of fish that are driven or pulled east by wind, occasional flows and upwellings – a little level of the Agulhas Bank stock that isn't in fact moving. 

The realistic (inset) demonstrates a satellite picture from 29th June 2017. Fluctuating warm water gyres in the compelling Agulhas flow pull cooler water along the coastline, bringing pockets of sardines up from the Agulhas Bank producing grounds. The satellite picture indicates water of around 20 degrees Celsius from East London to Port St Johns. Reports from this time were of scattered trap ball movement in those regions. 

These nearshore counter flows emerge from up-welling along the drift between Port Alfred to Port St. Johns. Advance development past Waterfall Bluff close Mboyti is accepted to rely upon a split away swirl from the Agulhas ebb and flow, permitting further NE development of sardines along the Durban South Coast – The Waterfall Bluff door speculation. 

When the sardines achieve the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal, reefs of contrasting sizes tend to come through in heartbeats, that are additionally thought by predators; dolphins ,winged animals, sharks and whales following the shores.

Relocation or not and semantics aside, there are numerous unpredictable variables that add to a decent or terrible sardine run year. 

What is the historical backdrop of the Sardine Run? The sardine run was an occasion customarily connected with the Natal South Coast (Port Edward to Durban), when local people and anglers excitedly anticipated the regular landing of sardines and related amusement angle in June and July.

The most punctual reference we can discover to the sardine keep running in Durban is from 1853. The Natal Mercury detailed: "… on Tuesday the second August 1853, a reef of mackerel pursued by sharks and other vast fish, took shelter near shore. This stranding of fish has not been made sure to have happened in advance." 

In the 1930's and 40's, Indian, handbag seine anglers brought home the bacon off the sardine and shad (Pomatomus Saltatrix) gets. Working from the shore with wooden water crafts among Durban and Port Edward there were three organizations with right around forty vessels at Durban's Vetch's Pier alone. Unfit to contend with better prepared netters that touched base in later years, their activities wound up restricted to the Durban territory, where just a single pontoon stayed by 1982. 

At about a similar time, sport angling was getting to be prevalent and nearby pioneers of shake and surf systems utilized hand-made handle; stick poles and flax lines to focus on the gamefish and sharks related with the sardine run. Now and then the sardine reefs would shoreline as the sheer number of fish caught against the shore would exhaust all the accessible oxygen and choking out fish would be left stranded, unfit to get away from the falling tide. This free abundance from the ocean would see individuals from varying backgrounds, hurrying into the surf with nets, basins, shopping bushels, even shirts and skirts, in a furor that ended up known as "sardine fever". 

Another early notice of the sardine run can be found in The Blue Meridian by Peter Matthiessen. Amid their endeavor to film the extraordinary white shark in 1969 they heard news that "… Durban's shorelines had been shut, because of the shark accumulates that were seeking after incredible reefs of mackerel close inshore; the nets off the shorelines were getting upwards of 72 sharks in a solitary day. In Natal it was the southern winter, the water was colder, and among the species in the nets was the extraordinary white shark." 

Tim Wallett, in his book Shark Attack and the treatment of unfortunate casualties in Southern African Waters talks about the horrible effect of the shark nets amid the sardine run: "Each year the force of the sardine run changes, as does the separation which the reefs travel from shore. In the event that sardine reefs move along the drift in excess of one kilometer seaward barely any, sharks are gotten in the nets. At the point when reefs swim through got regions many sharks are coincided." "… the most noteworthy sardine run without a doubt occurred in 1971. More than 1000 sharks were expelled from the nets in ten days. Numerous nets couldn't be situated for a little while and the quantity of sharks which deteriorated in them is obscure." 

Gratefully the Natal Sharks Board is currently evacuating the nets amid the sardine run. Tragically they keep on utilizing deadly techniques to "ensure" shorelines for whatever is left of the year. Gill nets and drum lines are the weapons of decision, in spite of the non-deadly assurance alternatives that are presently right now accessible. As a legislature financed association The Natal Sharks Board keeps on working with exemption as a shark fishery, much to the overwhelm of many concerned South Africans. 

The last real sardine raced to achieve the South Coast as of late was in 2002, with some gigantic shores showing up off Isipingo, Scottburgh and Warner Beach and a couple of reefs achieving Durban by the 21st of June. Unexpectedly 2003 was the main year that Hibiscus drift tourism went hard and fast promoting the sardine run. "The yearly run is remarkable and as a market, for all intents and purposes undiscovered in South Africa," said Robbie Naidoo, a representative for Tourism KZN. From that point forward the netting on the South Coast has been sporadic without a doubt albeit a few gets were accounted for in 2005, 2015 and 2017. Mesh in 2018 was by a long shot the best lately and has persuaded that the Sardine Run might restore the South Coast. 

There are numerous hypotheses for the decrease of the sardine keep running on the South Coast; the reefs passing seaward, changes in the flows, illicit angling, over-angling, loss of predators and environmental change are for the most part conceivable elements.


The Sardine Run in South Africa is seen as one of the world's most mind boggling marine events. Yearly, from May to July, enormous shores of sardines move from their fragile water home off South Africa's southern float and travel north-east into the sub-tropical shoreline front waters of the Wild Coast. Following the reefs is an unparalleled blending of marine predators including seabirds; sharks; beguilement fish and marine warm blooded creatures. 

Right when predators meet prey, an empowering event of unmatched degrees begins. A liberal number of standard dolphins charge after the shores, keeping them into thickly stuffed catch balls and driving them to the surface. Seen by the omnipresent Cape gannets, an airborne catch on the sardines happens when endless begin their shocking skip bouncing appears. Underneath the flying animals, the catch balls are clear fixations for dolphins, and besides for shivers of bronze-whaler, shadowy and blacktip sharks. The last player, is the behemoth Bryde's whale. Its gigantic mouth can destroy an entire prod ball in a lone surge. 

In the late 90′s, Blue Wilderness began diving tries to search for after and film the Sardine Run. We were instrumental in epic appearances, for instance, the Emmy Award winning BBC film "The best shore on Earth". Today our social event continues to dependably track the Sardine Run. We are industriously developing new revelation propels; completing the cycle our bystander structure and retro-fulfilling our vessels to ensure we can again experience the world's most noticeable marine event.


Dependably between the broadened lengths of June and July, South Africa's east buoy is held by an odd sort of fever. Sharp eyes channel the inaccessible skyline for indications of life; while neighborhood radio stations plan every day resuscitates giving data around one of the planet's most indispensable trademark considers - the Sardine Run. 

The Greatest Shoal on Earth 

The Sardine Run joins the yearly improvement of billions of Sardinops sagax, essentially more routinely known as South African pilchards or sardines. It has been highlighted in unlimited documentaries, including the BBC's Nature's Great Events; and has been the subject of sweeping examination. Despite this, no is authoritatively viewed as the mechanics of the Run, or why it happens in any case. 

What is sure is that the Run starts each year after tremendous reefs of sardines make in the driving precipitation waters of the Cape's upgrade rich Agulhas Bank. Coming about to conveying, by far most of the sardines move north along South Africa's west buoy, where the waters are cool all through the entire year. Here, conditions are ideal for the sardines, a cool water species that can essentially endure temperatures lower than 70°F/21°C. 

Reliably between the extended lengths of June and July, South Africa's east float is held by a fascinating kind of fever. Sharp eyes channel the difficult to reach horizon for signs of life; while neighborhood radio stations plan each day reestablishes giving information around one of the planet's most basic trademark thinks about - the Sardine Run. 

The Greatest Shoal on Earth 

The Sardine Run joins the yearly enhancement of billions of Sardinops sagax, basically more reliably known as South African pilchards or sardines. It has been featured in boundless documentaries, including the BBC's Nature's Great Events; and has been the subject of clearing examination. In spite of this, no is definitively seen as the mechanics of the Run, or why it occurs regardless.

What is certain is that the Run begins every year after colossal reefs of sardines make in the driving precipitation waters of the Cape's overhaul rich Agulhas Bank. Coming to fruition to passing on, most by a long shot of the sardines move north along South Africa's west float, where the waters are cool all through the whole year. Here, conditions are perfect for the sardines, a cool water species that can fundamentally proceed on temperatures lower than 70°F/21°C. 

South Africa's east float, on the other hand, is washed by the astonishingly furthermore impacting, southward-spilling Agulhas Current. In any case, reliably among June and July, the cool Benguela Current pushes northwards from the Cape, making a thin channel between the float and the all the all the more smoking water toward the ocean. Thusly, a pinch of the sardines from the Agulhas Bank can go up the east float like KwaZulu-Natal. 

The fish move in gigantic reefs, trimmed into the float by their sense to search for security in numbers and their weakness to cross the obstacle between the Benguela and Agulhas streams. Wherever on, these reefs can survey as much as 4.5 miles/7 kilometers in length and 100 feet/30 meters absolutely, and legend has it that some are even observable from space. 

Predators of the Sardine Run 

Unavoidably, the area of such a stunning relationship of sustenance pulls in unfathomable marine predators. Of these, the two most customarily associated with the Sardine Run are the Cape gannet, a prominent cream-shaded seabird, and the standard dolphin. These two species are remarkably acclimated with have the capacity to find the shores first. In this way, they go about as a strong pointer of sardine advancement for people and predators alike.

Precisely when the dolphins discover the sardines, they work merge with the gannets to swarm the fish, restricting them into more modest reefs known as catch balls. By then the eat up begins, with winged creatures and dolphins picking off the harried sardines straightforwardly, pulling in various searchers meanwhile. Every now and again, these join copper sharks, bottlenose dolphin, and the fearless Bryde's whale, which routinely incapacitates entire draw in balls a single sizable piece.

Individuals other than eagerly imagine the Sardine Run plenitude. While discovering groups are incorporated toward the ocean, near to individuals living along the float use seine nets to get a colossal number of sardines as they enter the shallows searching for sustenance. It is felt that the survivors release their eggs in the warm waters of KwaZulu-Natal, ignoring them to float back southwards, the segment to the Agulhas Bank where they pass on the following year. 

Experiencing the Phenomenon 

The best way to deal with oversee experience the Sardine Run is from the water, and in all honesty, it has changed into a bowl list event for sharp scuba jumpers and submerged picture takers. There's nothing exceptionally like the adrenalin flood of looking as a device ball gets depleted by sharks and dolphins before your eyes, and you don't must have a scuba accreditation to do everything considered. Distinctive boss offer freediving or swimming treks moreover. 

For those that don't want to get wet, a vital piece of the advancement can be seen from over the waves. The Sardine Run differentiations and South Africa's yearly humpback whale development, and watercraft trips offer the opportunity to regard the whales' vaulting while additionally paying exceptional identity to dolphins and seabirds. On strong land, shorelines like Margate, Scottburgh, and Park Rynie change into a hive of headway at whatever point the sardine reefs adventure by.