Plenty Of Fish? The Darker Side of Fishing

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Before you start to read, please take a moment to watch this short film starring Ewan McGregor. It takes less than 3 minutes to make a pretty stark point. Although I should warn you – this is not for the faint hearted!

Desserts from Another Film Company on Vimeo.

I have never really though too much about fishing to be honest. I have read books on the horrors that can happen inside abattoirs and intensively farmed animals. I have heard about the problems with over fishing. But general angling? It has always slipped beneath my radar, it is a fun sport right? A hobby? A chance to unwind and bond with nature?

The Sardine Run

This is the first time since I moved to the South Coast of Durban that the ‘Sardine Run’ of Southern Africa has happened. It is a time of great excitement, and everyone waits in anticipation for the first signs of the great shoals of tasty fish making their way up the coast.

This migration of sardine occurs from May through July, and billions of the fish spawn in the coolers waters and then millions of them swim upwards along the east coast of South Africa up to Mozambique. The marine life goes into a frenzy as they pass, with birds and larger fish feasting on them as they pass.

The shoals can be more than 7 km long, 1.5 km wide and 30 metres deep! Yesterday as I drove from a height and looked down on the ocean, I could clearly make out the dark swaths of sardines moving slowly up the coast.

Social media went crazy with everyone wanting to get some of the action, and I could understand. I even felt excited to be witnessing such a huge phenomenon of nature. And then the pictures began to fill my newsfeed, and I felt a little uneasy.

I understand that the sardine run is a chance for marine animals to feast, as is the balance of the world. But it seemed a little unsporting to simply capture enormous nets full of them?

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