curt bowen jason heller michael aw michael aw jason heller michael aw michael aw jason heller michael aw jason heller

awkwardsituationist:

the sardine run is the largest predatory hunt on the planet. in schools that can measure four miles long and one mile wide, 100 billion sardines migrate from the cool waters of the agulhas bank, south of south africa, northward to the warmer waters along the east coast.

sharks, bryde’s whales and dolphins all come in the thousands for the fish. dolphins, as incredibly social (meaning intelligent) animals, will work together to drive the sardines — who form a defensive bait ball measuring up to 20 meters across — to the surface. the sharks and whales freeload off their efforts.

ocean warming is a problem that could bring this spectacle to an end. in the 2009 winter season, a sustained record high water temperature of almost 22 celcius was recorded over a 20 day period, which is much too warm for the sardines.

add to this the pressures of an unsustainable global fishing industry and less than adequate environmental management and it’s fair to conclude there will be fewer sardine runs like this in the future.

photos by (click pic) jason hellercurt bowen and michael aw. (see also: alexander sfanov’s photos)

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(Source: Flickr / mtsacprof)