Esther Kang

Manhattan Beach heeds state’s warnings about limiting pier fishing

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New signage at the Manhattan Beach pier. Courtesy of Mark Danaj

New signage at the Manhattan Beach pier. Courtesy of Mark Danaj

The City of Manhattan Beach has bowed to pressure from state agencies regarding its proposed restrictions limiting certain fishing gear at the state-owned pier.

The city’s temporary fishing ban, instituted after a shark attack at the pier early July, was lifted on Tuesday.

At the Aug. 12 City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to adopt a new set of guidelines banning steel, metal and braided leader lines, as well as large fishing hooks and snag lines. Under the modified ordinance, only 40-pound or lighter monofilament fishing lines would have been allowed.

When the ordinance came back for a second reading on Aug. 19, City Manager Mark Danaj requested that the council defer any action, citing a letter from the California Natural Resources Agency. Written on behalf of several state agencies and commissions, the letter urged the city to hold off on adopting the new guidelines, Danaj said.

“The city is relying on state law and existing regulations in the municipal code to protect the health and safety of all users of the pier, beach and water,” Danaj told Easy Reader News. “… Additional regulations will be the focus of our work and review with the state.”

The state’s Fish and Game Commission and Department of Parks and Recreation, which owns the pier, have previously contacted the city to assert their authority over pier fishing.

The city council’s efforts to restrict pier fishing regulations came in response to the July 5 attack involving a great white shark and swimmer Steve Robles south of Manhattan Beach pier. Robles suffered numerous bites and needed to be brought ashore on a passing stand-up paddler’s board.

According to witnesses, the shark was hooked by a fisherman on the pier and had been on the line for about 45 minutes when the attack occurred.

The new signage at the pier expressly prohibits chumming and gutting fish on the pier.

Danaj said city staff have not met with state officials yet but have exchanged emails in which they assured him “of their willingness to provide a timely and coordinated effort.”

Clark Blanchard, spokesperson for the Natural Resources Agency, said in order for Manhattan Beach to enact the new guidelines, the city must draft a petition for review by the state Fish and Game Commission, which would vote to adopt the petition.

“The interest of the state is that the city takes the appropriate process to go through this,” Blanchard said. “To my knowledge we’re just kind of starting the conversation as to how we should move forward.”

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