Thousands of sardines somehow lost direction and ended up trapped in the harbor of the Greek island of Koufonisia.
Locals rushed to the port with fish nets to get as many as they could. The small fish seemed to have been disorientated and were crashing against the sea wall.
A video published on TikTok shows fish landing on the wall. A local is heard saying: “As you can see we do not do fishing anymore. Fish come to land by themselves.”
The Koufonisia islands south of Naxos have been described as Greece’s “hidden paradise.” They are known for their calm beaches with golden sand and turquoise waters, their many natural pools, and magnificent sea caves.
Sardines are hugely popular in Greece
This small fish is hugely popular in Greece during the summer, particularly in July and August. Order simple grilled sardines with olive oil and lemon, and you’ll become a fan too.
Greeks love this fish so much that sardine festivals are organized every year in many towns such as in the Halkidiki Peninsula, Chania, Preveza, and the islands of Lesvos and Thassos. Big grills are set up at central squares to cook sardines and enjoy great food, music and dancing.
On Lesvos sardines are the snack of choice with ouzo. Called Sardeles Pastes these are the sardines that have been caught that morning, salted on the boat and served that night. To eat them the skin is removed and they are seasoned with oil, lemon or whatever your host prefers to season them with, as Matt Barrett explains in his informative blog on everything Greek.
Mystery of why sardines reaches the shores of the Greek island
Fish do not typically approach land in numbers by choice. However, there are several natural and environmental factors that can lead to the aggregation of fish near the shoreline or in shallow waters.
Feeding can be one of the reasons sardines reached the port of Koufonisia. Fish often congregate near the shore where there is an abundance of food, such as smaller fish, plankton, or aquatic insects. The shallows can be rich feeding grounds for various species.
Another reason could have been changes in water temperature or oxygen levels which can drive fish to seek shallower waters that may be more favorable for their survival. This can happen seasonally or due to other environmental factors.
Being near the shoreline can offer some fish protection from larger predators in deeper waters. It may be a strategy to avoid predation.
Sometimes, natural or environmental events, such as storms, changes in water conditions, or other disturbances, can push fish closer to the shore.