This article was published on 19 July 2019 by Plongez – a French Dive Magazine.
Translated from the Article to the left:
Sardine run: South African centers come together to guarantee code of conduct
In recent years, many things have changed during the season of the South African Sardine run: the small handful of centers has now transformed into a huge fleet of boats that go out at sea between February and July to experience the greatest migration at sea. from the southern hemisphere! Thousands of tourists from around the world – diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, photographers – and attracted by this great spectacle offered by the ocean, are now part of this annual migration …
But in the midst of dozens of providers on the market, how to find a responsible organizer with the necessary permissions and experience to follow the Sardine run? To answer this question, three diving centers – African Water Sports, Aliwal Shoal Scuba and Dive Expert Tours – have decided to join forces by creating the South African Sardine Run Charter Owners Association (SASRCOA), which wishes to guarantee a quality label and tourism in accordance with local South African laws. With their experience and expertise, they have created a code of conduct that flows directly from the applicable laws in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT). This code defines in particular the good behaviors to follow the Sardine run: how to behave under and over water with mammals? How to approach each species present (whales, dolphins …)?
The founding members of the association invite other local service providers (diving centers, hotels, travel agencies, etc.) as well as other international operators to join them: “The more we will be, the more we will be influential and we will be able to save the sardine run as it is today, “says Rainer Schimpf, owner of the Dive Expert-Tours Center in Port Elizabeth. “In the near future, we are planning internal internships so that new members can benefit from the know-how of former organizers. The topics covered during these courses will be varied: how to approach whales and dolphins responsibly and legally, how to avoid accidents, what to do in case of distress at sea …
But what is the Sardine run and where does the spectacular success of this annual phenomenon come from? The Sardine run is one of the largest, but also the last marine adventure in the southern hemisphere, comparable to the great wildebeest migration in the plains of Serengeti in Tanzania. During the Sardine run, thousands of fish, mostly sardines, run along the east coast of South Africa against the current heading north. These huge schools leave from the sea, at the shallow continental shelf south of Cape Algulhas, to reach the coast around Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape) to Durban in KwaZulu Natal. They have only one goal: to spawn in the warm waters of the Alguhas current. This current returns spawning to the continental shelf near Cape where it can hatch and grow in these highly nutritious waters. Once their adult size is reached, the sardines begin their trip north again in January of the following year. And the adventure between the hunters and hunted again, the predators – sharks, dolphins, whales, sea birds and penguins – crazy about this gigantic pantry!
To learn more about the South African Sardine Owners’ Charter Run Charter (SASRCOA): www.sasrcoa.co.za