Should Seal Beach Restrict Fishing on the Pier?

Councilwoman Ellery Deaton said she wants the council to discuss consider fishing limits on the local landmark to help keep it clean.

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.

9.05.065 Fishing

 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. 

Vito Grossnao November 15, 2012 at 12:59 AM
I wish they consider the same thing in Huntington Beach. The pier has become more than a nuisance, with anglers elbow to elbow, occupying all the benches and use them as work benches filled with blood and tools, camping in tents, etc.
Emily Knell November 15, 2012 at 03:34 PM
If the pier were just patrolled by ICE agents, I am confident the amount of daily fishermen would drastically decrease. Before you all gasp at me for saying this, this is just my own observation. It's called illegal alien for a reason. I'm just a crime fighter. The ability to fish should be available to Seal Beach families & area residents, where the parents/grandparents can teach the kids how to fish. My Grandfather did this for my brother & I at the Seal Beach pier, it's the experience & fond memories of those times, that stay with me forever. I think we only caught a few fish from time to time, not buckets full, we didn't bloody up the pier or otherwise use a bench all day long either.
Seth Eaker November 15, 2012 at 06:21 PM
It would seem some reasonable restrictions on fishing, along with locating benches away from fishing areas would be ideal. This would be a great job for some of the VIPs (Volunteers in Policing) to just walk up and down the pier since the Jack Haley Safety building is right there. Fishing should be encouraged, but in a responsible, respectful way. As someone who grew up fishing (albeit in rivers rather than the Pacific), it is a wonderful sport and activity for people of all ages. Also, the Rotary Club does a nice job every year with their Fishing Derby. I wonder what their feelings might be.
Laura Walker Ellsworth November 15, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Graham Day doesn't think the benches are that fancy anyway. He should be reminded that each MEMORIAL Bench costs over $1,800.00 each, there are 20 on the pier. The fact is people purchased those benches to remember a family member. I have a bench in town that I purchased in memorial for my mother-in-law. If people were cutting up fish guts and slicing her bench leaving permanent damage, I would be very upset. It will not deter people from fishing but from breaking the law and vandalizing property that is not theirs to destroy. We are looking for a solution. The Lions will be out there again this weekend repairing benches, I challenge Mr. Day to come out and join us, since his customers are the ones causing the damage. I was not suggesting no fishing on the pier. We all want the fishing for the same reason that Emily Knell stated, but all the fisherman need to be respectful of our property.
Marni rice November 15, 2012 at 09:51 PM
BobZ November 15, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I am walking out there often and I find this proposal unnecesary as those benches are not near where most fishing occurs. Problem one is Seal Beach should hose the pier from time to time. Problem two is they took out the old wooden benches that fisherman used and now fisherman are right in traffic. People go to Ruby's and enjoy watching the fisherman catching a variety of fish. Its entertainment so take away the fisherman and see Ruby's business go south.
Sandy W. November 15, 2012 at 10:51 PM
How about compassion and respect for the beautiful fish? It can't be good for children or caring adults either to see innocent creatures dying. Let's enjoy the ocean but leave its inhabitants in peace.
Laura Walker Ellsworth November 16, 2012 at 04:06 AM
BobZ for environmental reasons the city is not allowed to hose the pier. It makes so sense but once it comes out of the water we are stuck with it. If the benches are no where near the fishing then you are right we would have no problem. No-one is suggesting we take away fishing from the pier. We are spending a lot of volunteer hours cleaning them, like 130 Lions hours. We are looking for a solution so we don't waste our time and money.
therese le mieux November 16, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I have lived in Seal Beach for 19 years and it has gotten very messy and dirty on the pier from the fishing people. They do not pick up after themselves and leave pieces of bait laying around, hooks, fishing lines, plastic containers, food trash, etc. I have seen a pelican with fishing lines tangled on it's legs on the pier. I don't understand why they do not pick up their area for the priviledge of free fishing. I do not mind the fishing just the mess.
arttie short November 16, 2012 at 06:46 PM
marty shood run for president of seal beach!!!
bang bang November 16, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Amen arttie short. Marty the midget for mayor
Jim Norman November 16, 2012 at 10:32 PM
This does not surprise me that Jill Ingram and Ellery Deaton would make such a proposal that is so anti Seal Beach history and racist in its nature. Maybe Deaton should focus more on getting the City Administration to be more effective in its current responsibilities. Maybe more of the kind of people Deaton wants may come to the beach if the bathrooms were cleaned on a regular basis.
arttie short November 17, 2012 at 05:52 PM
thats ruff marty!!!!...arttie here!!...i got your -lil- back next time!!!!!
enea ostrich November 18, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Easy fix...start getting some warnings out there on the issue. Verbal warnings are very helpful if it comes from law enforcement. There is no law yet but perhaps SIGNS would help??? A warning or two helps but RESTRICT them from fishing???? This is a right of passage since Jesus was on earth--dear God!!!!!!!!! I say that Ellery Deaton is trying to be the King Fish long enough in this town and she should wet her tainted gills to clear 'em and just start getting on with what council persons REALLY do. They don't go anal on issues like this--they get proactive and try to HELP ALL THE PEOPLE, not just a select few who don't mind their manners!!!!!!!!!! If you are kind to someone and politely ask them to stop what they are doing and ACTUALLY tell them why it's bad--figure it out--they might actually listen. They may not be apt to do something drastic like dump you over the pier. I have been on that pier many times with my husband and NEVER had that problem and believe me--I would tell someone if they were misbehavin'. You don't like fisherman--I am offended, for in my family there were plenty of people who fished on piers and live from the shore as well... You don't like sea people I get it but if they are doing something wrong...just warn them why it's wrong. Get the right people to do that--ones who have TACT!!!
Richard Cheese November 29, 2012 at 03:03 AM
It's a FISHING pier! Hello?
Dave Valenzuela September 13, 2013 at 02:30 AM
The city should have a cleaning crew with pressure washers go down the pier every morning and spray everything off. But it would be foolish to ban or limit fishing off the pier. That's what its for, right? The crew should get paid from all the damn money the city charges for parking. So there it is, creating jobs, cleaning up, and continue fishing my fishing friends
Dave Valenzuela September 13, 2013 at 02:42 AM
And u all know why that guy killed his wife and the other people that sunny day almost 2 years ago in seal beach rite? Cuz she sold all his fishing poles and tackle for a pair of hair cutting shears . so there's proof u shouldn't mess with a mans love for the sport. If u don't like the pier and think its nasty, then don't walk down it. In fact the only reason u should be on the pier is to fish.


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