MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com) — After the great white shark bite over the July 4 weekend, Manhattan Beach officials extended a ban on pier fishing that may become indefinite.
With a unanimous 5-to-0 vote, the Manhattan Beach City Council declared a nuisance emergency, and called on staff to develop guidelines to alter municipal codes in order to reduce the risk of another shark attack.
Despite the vote, the city manager says that the City Council does not possess the authority to ban fishing permanently. That power falls under the jurisdiction of the Coastal Commission, Fish and Wildlife and the State of California.
The shark was caught on a fisherman’s line, at which point witnesses report it took 30 minutes for the fisherman to cut his line. California law requires fishermen to immediately cut any line when hooking a shark.
The shark ultimately bit a swimmer not far from the pier.
The ban was extended for 60 days July 7.
On Tuesday, supporters, and those opposed to the enforcement of an indefinite ban on pier fishing, attended a City Council meeting to discuss the proposal.
“If I can’t fish off the pier, I’m going to fish somewhere else,” one fishing supporter said.
The victim of the shark attack, Steven Robles, shared his sentiments on the issue with CBS2/KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper.
“From what I understand, I’m the very first great white shark attack (victim) in Los Angeles County’s history,” Robles said. “And hopefully, I’ll be the last, and this will never come up again.”
Robles also gave his opinion in front of the city council.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to this issue, and most importantly, I think reckless behavior has to be penalized,” Robles stated.
Other residents agreed with Robles’ opinion, stating that pier fishing presents an unnecessary danger to those in the water.
“I don’t think they should be allowed to fish; I think there’s too many people swimming,” resident Gina Shafer said. “I mean, this is a recreational beach here.”
A number of residents, however, suggested that recreation itself is the reason the ban should be lifted from the pier.
“I believe in the right of citizens and of regional taxpayers to use the pier for recreation,” fishing supporter Duke Noor said. “That’s what it’s there for.”
The ban on fishing from the Manhattan Beach pier is set to last until September.
Council members are expected to meet again to discuss the issue further on August 12.