Cape Town (CNN) — From above, it looks like a vast oil spill spreading across the ocean. It’s been called the “Greatest Shoal on Earth” and it’s one of the planet’s biggest migrations in terms of biomass.
Along South Africa’s east coast, between May and July, billions of spawning sardines travel north towards Mozambique. They are pursued by predators ranging from sharks to dolphins, whales and even humans.
Armed with a GoPro and 360-camera, she swam beneath the big black slick of fish to film the incredible variety of marine wildlife it attracts. She believes her footage can help people appreciate how the ocean ecosystem depends on seemingly insignificant fish like the sardines.
“I know through seeing the beauty of the sardine run and the underwater world, people start to understand how connected everything is,” Neale tells CNN. “From seeing a fish as something that’s just a food source to seeing a fish as its integral role in the whole marine food chain and how that fish supplies so many marine animals.”
Protecting the oceans
“The reason why it’s really important to manage our fisheries well is because if we do that, we can fish forever,” Sink tells CNN. “In a world with increasing pressure and increasing industrialization of the ocean,and in a time of climate change where there’s even more uncertainty, we need to do everything that we can to have healthy oceans and healthy fish stocks.”
Neale wholeheartedly agrees. “You protect what you love,” she says. “The ocean is what I truly love the most.”
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