SoCal Beach City Bars Fishing From Pier After Shark Bite

Manhattan Beach officials decided Monday to enact a 60-day fishing ban, the maximum allowed time under the California Coastal Act.

Officials in a Southern California beach city where a shark bit a swimmer have barred fishing from the pier so they can determine the impacts to public safety.

The fishing ban at the Manhattan Beach Pier is expected to last 60 days, the maximum allowed time under the California Coastal Act. A newly posted sign at the pier says that finshing will be banned until Sept. 7.

"For the protection of all beachgoers, we did a time out to investigate what happened," Manhattan Beach Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Powell said. "Maybe it's separating swimmers and surfers from the fishing activity. Maybe it's banning the type of bait, we don't know yet." 

A juvenile 7-foot white shark bit 50-year-old swimmer Steve Robles at the Manhattan Beach Pier on Saturday as it was fighting to free itself from a fishing line cast from the pier. 

Robles, of Lomita, spent 8 hours in a Harbor-UCLA Medical Center emergency room. He escaped with cuts to his chest and a broken artery in his thumb. 

He said in an exclusive interview with NBC4 that he thought he was going to die as the shark dug its teeth into the side of his body.

"I used my hand to grab his nose, pried him off me," Robles said. "I mean, I thought that was it. For just a second I thought this was it, I was really scared."

Officials were expected to talk more about the ban at a Manhattan Beach City Council meeting on July 15.

While the ban is in effect, violators could face civil and criminal penalties.

Lifeguards said it had been more than a century since someone has been attacked by a shark in Los Angeles County.

A fisherman said he and his friends were trying to catch bat rays when they hooked the shark. The group had the shark on a fishing line for about 30 minutes when Robles came too close and was bitten.

It's against California law to fish for great white sharks. Fishermen who catch one must cut it loose once it's been identified.

Great white sightings have recently become a regular occurance off the Manhattan Beach Pier. An expert told NBC4 that humans and great white sharks can co-exist peacefully as long as they are not antagonized and they are given space.

Samia Khan contributed to this report.

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