Fishermen have been casting their lines off the Seal Beach Pier for the better part of a century, but on Tuedsay a city official said she wants the city to consider curtailing the practice to keep the landmark clean.
City Councilwoman Ellery Deaton asked city staff to research potential Seal Beach Pier fishing limits – including the possibility of creating specific fishing times, specific areas for fishing or issuing citations for anglers who break the rules – for a future council meeting discussion.
“The fishing is out of control on the pier,” Deaton said. “I think maybe it’s time to get it on an agenda.”
Deaton said when she talks to her constituents they say the fishermen are causing a problem, especially by cutting their bait on the benches.
"They leave their trash," Deaton said. "They leave their fish. They leave their bait.”
In a brief interview with Patch after the meeting, Deaton said, “I don’t want to end fishing out there. I want all of us to be able to enjoy the pier.”
Visitors "should be able to use a bench to sit down on and not have to sit on fish guts," Deaton added during a later interview.
City Manager Jill Ingram said that if the item were added to a future agenda, it probably wouldn't be discussed until 2013.
Seal Beach resident Laura Ellsworth, chair of the Seal Beach Pier bench renovation project, agrees with Deaton.
Ellsworth is concerned that fishermen would continue to use the wood on the benches as cutting boards, damaging the work that volunteers recently fixed.
“As we are restoring, we are finding fish guts all over the wood and the backrest,” Ellsworth said.
Graham Day, store manager of Norm’s Bait and Tackle, said he any proposed fishing restrictions would be a bad idea because it “deters people from coming into our city to spend money.”
He added: “I think they should just let it be. I don’t think they need to restrict it.”
As for the benches?
“The benches aren’t anything fancy anyway,” Day said, but added that if the city doesn’t want people to use them as cutting boards they should put signs up.
“I don’t really fish off the pier much myself,” Day said. “But I service hundreds of people every day that do.”
Here is the text of the city code regarding fishing in the city.
A. Each person fishing from the city beach or city pier shall have due regard for the safety of persons on the beach or in the water.
B. No person fishing from the city pier shall cast the line overhead or across the deck of the pier.
C. No person shall use or possess more than 2 fishing poles on the city pier for the purpose of fishing from the pier.
D. No person shall use or possess a bow and arrow, crossbow and arrow or similar device for the purpose of fishing from the city beach, city pier or other city property.
Also according to Code 9.05.010 C, city lifeguards have the power to restrict or prohibit fishing on the city beach.