Put out sardine bait, and you catch a dusky!

Here are some photo’s of a local angler (Vishal) who unintentionally caught a shark at Pipeline beach (Amamzimtoti, South of Durban, South Africa) in the late afternoon on 28 June, 2011.

The shark made him work very hard to reel it in, for about half an hour.

Once he landed the shark, he worked quickly to free it, and along with some other anglers, released it successfully. The shark was mostly unharmed. I may be incorrect, but I am pretty sure it is a dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus). They are known to follow the South African sardine (Sardinops sagax) run which is currently in progress. Earlier in the day, a couple of fish from one of the early shoals had beached along shores on neighbouring beaches.

This shark is one of the most sought-after species for shark fin trade, and the IUCN (red list) lists it as near threatened. The sardine run is expected to continue for a few more days/weeks during June. This is an annual event, where the fish swim along the coast, following the cold current moving northwards from the Agulhas bank to Mozambique.

The sardines have not had a “run” for the past few years, and so locals are very excited to see them this year, along with all the predators including dolphins, sharks, sea gulls etc that follow the sardines.

If you would like to use these images, please post a comment or email me on sara8pies at gmail dot com.