Following last month's shocking shark attack on a swimmer off Manhattan Beach, the city temporarily banned fishing from its municipal pier and tomorrow will consider new ways to discourage anglers from targeting such great whites.
The July 5 attack in which a man in a group of long-distance swimmers was bitten in his upper-right torso but survived was largely blamed on the actions of a pier-based fisherman who had an 8-foot great white on his line for as many as 40 minutes.
Inspector Rick Flores of the Los Angeles County Fire Department told us at the time that authorities believed the shark had become "agitated." Then the swimmers crossed its path. And it was captured on video (below):
People on the pier can be heard hooting and hollering as the attack unfolds, but the tattooed fisherman behind the reel later said he was trying to direct the shark away from the swimmers.
The man was never arrested or charged with any wrongdoing, but the city responded by banning fishing from the pier as part of a temporary emergency measure.
The animal-rights group PETA has asked the city to make the ban permanent. And at tomorrow's City Council meeting, officials will consider regulations clearly designed to prevent shark fishing.
The rules would include restrictions on line types, hook sizes and fishing "in a manner that is dangerous to persons using the beach or the water." Chumming—tossing chopped up meat in the water—would also be prohibited.
But the California Sportfishing League says any such regulations would be unconstitutional and illegal: It argues that only the state can regulate fishing. In a letter to the Manhattan Beach City Council, the group says:
The City of Manhattan Beach, or any other city in California, does not have the legal authority to regulate fishing gear or the method of take. The power to regulate fishing and decide upon acceptable fishing gear lies solely with the California Fish and Game Commission.
The group says the commission reaffirmed its authority on the matter of fishing regulation during its meeting last week.
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The league's executive director, Marko Mlikotin, says:
... The California Fish and Game Commission reaffirmed that municipalities, such as Manhattan Beach, do not have the authority to limit fishing from public piers, a safe form of recreation that generates tourism dollars and jobs. We urge the City of Manhattan Beach to reopen their piers to recreational fishing immediately.
We reached out to Manhattan Beach's city manager for his response but did not hear back.