Fishers with masks during the 2020 sardine run.
(Photo: Donald Strydom via Ugu South Coast Tourism)
  • The 2020 sardine run is in full swing on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, even though beaches remain closed to the general public.
  • Fishers have had great success this year, the region's tourism organisation says – and the spectacle has also been good for restaurants and other local businesses.
  • Large teams have pulled literal cratefuls of fish from their nets, while (mostly) wearing masks, in a unique 2020 flavour for the annual event.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.


The annual sardine run on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is in full swing, the region's tourism organisation says. And despite the ongoing lockdown, the spectacle is benefitting local businesses at least to some extent.

In 2020 the "greatest shoal on Earth" is not drawing tourists from around South Africa and the world – and the fishing is featuring face masks for the first time ever. But the Sardinops sagax pilchards are still (mistakenly) headed up the coast in search of new territory, and teams of fishers are still taking advantage of their travels.

Beaches remain closed to the general public under Alert Level 3, but both recreational and commercial fishing is allowed.

On Tuesday net teams were pulling literal cratefuls of fish from the ocean, says Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT).  

Here's what the 2020 sardine run on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast looks like.

The 2020 sardine run is the first to feature face masks – though keeping those masks fully covering the nose and mouth during the harvest proved challenging.

Keeping a mask on during sardine harvesting can be
(Photo: Donald Strydom via Ugu South Coast Tourism)


Beaches remain closed to the general public, but fishing is allowed, and the usual big teams came out to scoop up huge quantities of sardines.

A team at work during the 2020 sardine run.
(Photo: Donald Strydom via Ugu South Coast Tourism)


A team at work during the 2020 South Coast sardine
(Photo: Donald Strydom via Ugu South Coast Tourism)

The sardine run has been good for business generally, said Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) CEO Phelisa Mangcu in a statement.

“We’re so grateful to those people who have been coming through to support our commercial anglers by buying crates of sardines. There’s also been a lot of support for other local businesses, such as restaurants and cafes, and this is really welcome during these challenging economic times.”


Fishers pulled literal crate-loads of sardines from their nets on the Pennington and Scottburgh beaches on Tuesday.

Stacked crates of sardines during the 2020 South C
(Photo: Donald Strydom via Ugu South Coast Tourism)
A load of sardines caught during the 2020 sardine
(Photo: Donald Strydom via Ugu South Coast Tourism)


As per usual, predators also joined in on the buffet, drone footage showed.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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