Excitement mounting almost to a national frenzy hit South Africa as a larger-than-ever invasion of sardines swam along the Natal Coast.
Excitement mounting almost to a national frenzy hit South Africa as a larger-than-ever invasion of sardines swam along the Natal Coast. Thousands of workers downed tools, factories closed for the day, police quelled beach disturbances. And the six-inch long fishes in their millions crowded the sea, were washed up onshore and brought in their wake swarms of wheeling birds and game-fish, including sharks.
Mere humans went beserk at the sight of puny pilchards in such number. Women dashed into the sea fully clothed to scoop out a few fish by hand or take home a packed shopping basket which they had dragged through the water like a fishing net. More professional Indian fisherman brought back nearly 20 tons in one net alone. It took more than four hours to sort this single catch from the net and at the end the fish were heaped in a 50ft. square pile on the beach.
Where do these fish come from each year? One theory is that they are Cape pilchards which like a migratory swim up the coast. Another links their journeying with warm currents, which seem to have come closer inshore this year off Natal. The South African Government is said to be contemplating sending research ship out to investigate this mystery of the sea. But there's something fishy in the report that the sardines are demanding an ancillary probe by psychologists into human behaviour when the seething shoals are sighted.