State Fish and Game Won't Cite Fishermen who Hooked Shark that Attacked Swimmer

Manhattan Beach Pier. The spot where a fisherman caught a juvenile shark on his line, which ultimately bit a swimmer passing by. Patch file photo.
Manhattan Beach Pier. The spot where a fisherman caught a juvenile shark on his line, which ultimately bit a swimmer passing by. Patch file photo.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Warning, video contains foul language.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife indicated today it will not cite the fishermen who hooked a shark in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, which resulted in a swimmer getting bitten.

"We have no reason to believe that these fishermen were targeting great whites that day," Capt. Rebecca Hartman told the Los Angeles Times. She said an investigation is continuing, but the fishermen's action is not being actively investigated.

A ban on fishing off the Manhattan Beach pier was extended on Monday to Sept. 7, instituted after the shark attack.

Steven Robles, 50, was bitten Saturday by the great white shark believed to have been between seven and 10 feet long. The shark had been hooked by a fishing line and was struggling to get free when Robles swam by.

A fisherman who only identified himself as Jason told The Times a group of fishermen were trying to lure the shark out to sea before cutting the line. It is illegal to fish for sharks, and the fisherman said they were trying to catch a bat ray.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called for a permanent ban on fishing from the pier.

Some people who saw a video of the attack were angered by what they thought was the fishermen on the pier laughing at Robles' problems. But when they realized what was happening, they tried to warn other surfers to get out of the water -- and to shoo the shark back out to sea.

"So far, we have found nothing to indicate that this was malicious," Hartman said.

It is illegal to fish for great white sharks in California, and once fishermen realize that's what they had, they must immediate cut their line.

One fisherman said he did not cut the line for fear that the free shark would attack swimmers in the water.

--City News Service

See Patch's full coverage, including the story that broke the news first:

Sammy Velvet July 09, 2014 at 03:16 PM
Obviously anyone commenting on this has never had a fish of this size on their line. If it was that easy to bring a fish of this size in then it would have already been done. If you are fishing most of the time you cannot identify the fish you have on the line until they get close. You cannot control what kind of fish you will catch from a pier its just a draw of what bites your bait. And for the guy that got bit you are swimming in their world, just like anyone who goes out into Alaska into Bear Country. It happens , you got lucky, you cant fault the fisherman as much as yourself for being out there. Humans do not control the universe. I have fished both freshwater and saltwater, sometimes targeting dangerous fish, so if I get bit or cut by them its on me for coming into their world.
pj July 09, 2014 at 08:23 PM
This fisherman was NOT trying to lead the shark he caught back out to deeper water....he and his group are LYING!!!! A five minute video of these imbeciles laughing, cursing and saying the "R" word is proof enough. They were enjoying watching the shark struggle and enjoyed it when the shark in their words "f---en jumped right on top of him" when in actuality the shark really bit the man. Then you hear "He didn't get bit...he just S--- his pants." And some of the group of morons are still heard to be laughing. They should all be charged...wrong call Capt. Rebecca Hartman...did you not see this video???!!!! Jason...u and your moronic crew are white trash but for today, lucky white trash.
Chris Winter July 09, 2014 at 09:30 PM
It is not illegal to fish for shark, it is illegal to take great whites. There are many species of shark similar to Great white until it is identifiable the fish can be kept on the line. It is illegal to swim in the ocean beyond the scope of lifeguard safety and it is also illegal to swim within 100 ft of the pier. The pier was built for fishing in mind and in part paid for with tax dollars collected from a tax on fishing tackle. Additionally fishing is a protected class sport by the state constitution and as such the pier closure is an illegal action. If anything is banned it should be swimming. as the ocean is technically a wilderness full of dangerous predators if you choose to swim in it expect that you will be on a sharks dinner menue.
Scott Hanley July 10, 2014 at 11:25 AM
Fishing for sharks from the pier IS illegal. The "we were fishing for batrays" excuse is bullshit. Batray specific fishermen fish at night.
Victoria Kohlhepp July 14, 2014 at 02:44 AM
#1 Fishing forGreat White Sharks is Illegal,2I heard for a fact that this person thought he was funny as he filmed the entire incident on his Phone which in Police hands,#3 Why wasn't he at least fined?I myself have seen lobsters (not of size) taken,a Game Warden would be needed Full Time if there ever was to fishing allowed again.Oh not to mention all of the Surfers whom have been hooked by fisher people !!!!!!


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