Fishing from the Manhattan Beach pier is strictly prohibited through the end of July 8, and possibly much longer, while the City Council decides whether or not fishing played a role in the July 5 shark attack near the pier that sent a long-distance swimmer to the hospital with moderate injuries.
“It’s unfortunate, this is a human-provoked attack, by those fishermen,” surfer Alonzo Vargas told CBS affiliate KPIX.
Vargas said his comments reflect the “prevailing sentiment” among surfers in the Southern California town, after media reports about the shark attack indicated that a fisherman had caught the shark on his line and struggled to reel it in for nearly 45 minutes, causing it to become “agitated.”
“You know, sitting here watching it happen, I looked up and I could see there was a big, big fish on that line,” Vargas added.
The fisherman in question told CBS that he used sardines as bait for his hook, countering claims from surfers and others who say he used raw meat and blood to entice the shark.
The Manhattan Beach City Council is weighing a two-month ban on fishing from the pier while they decide what role, if any, the fisherman may have played in the attack. However, that may not be enough for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who have called for a permanent ban on fishing from the pier.
“It seems clear that the best way to protect public safety and reduce the risk that another swimmer will be injured or killed by a panicked or confused shark is to ban fishing at the pier permanently,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman wrote in a letter to Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Thomas Howorth.
The bitten man, 50-year-old Steven Robles, was treated at UCLA Medical Center for moderate puncture wounds to his upper torso, according to the Los Angeles Times. He has since been released, and even discussed his ordeal on the “Fox and Friends” program Monday morning.