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Pier Fishing & Sharks in the South Bay

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Pier Fishing Rules

Keep the Manhattan Beach Pier safe for everyone by following these fishing rules. Pursuant to state law and the municipal code, fishing that is dangerous to persons using the beach, pier, or water will NOT be allowed. The fishing rules are as follows and are available for download in the Pier Fishing Rules handout (PDF).

  • No overhead casting
  • Only one fishing line per person
  • No fish cleaning or gutting of marine life on the Pier
  • No chumming or throwing of fish parts into the water
  • No littering on the Pier or in the water

White sharks remain illegal to take in California. If a white shark is accidentally hooked, release the shark as soon as it is safe to do so. Do your part to share the ocean with sharks of the South Bay. Please contact the Manhattan Beach Police Department to report any violations (310) 802-5140.


On July 5, 2014, a swimmer was bitten by a shark that had been caught by a fisherman standing on the pier. In response to the incident, the City imposed an advisory warning to prohibit fishing from the pier until July 8, 2014. On July 7, 2014, the Acting Community Development Director granted an emergency coastal development permit (CDP) to temporarily prohibit fishing on the Manhattan Beach Pier based on public safety purposes. Upon consultation with the California Coastal Commission staff, the Director issued a revised CDP on July 8, 2014 that prohibits fishing from the pier for up to 60 days while the issue is studied. Public access on the pier is still permitted. More information is available in the press release and the staff report presented to City Council on July 15, 2014.

Since the incident, staff has consulted with a variety of other governmental entities including: The State Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has enforcement authority over the pier; State Department of Parks and Recreation, who administers the City's lease of the pier with the State; Los Angeles County Lifeguards; and, as noted above, the Coastal Commission.

    The Manhattan Beach Pier is now open for fishing, and to protect and enhance public safety for all recreational users of the pier, ocean and beach, educational signage on the pier will promote fishing rules to the public.


    The City is also working with the Roundhouse Aquarium and Heal the Bay to educate all recreational users on safe fishing practices, and on the sensitive wildlife species in the ocean. The City partnered with these groups to host a follow-up presentation on sharks in the South Bay from Dr. Chris Lowe on Thursday, September 18th, 2014 in City Council Chambers. Dr. Lowe provided information on the various shark species in the area, theories on why juvenile sharks are remaining in the area longer, and an overview of how our local oceans have recovered environmentally and are home once again to thriving marine life. A recording of the presentation can be viewed online. And a handout of the slides he presented is available for download by clicking here (PDF).  

    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a website devoted to information on white sharks, and also includes a White Shark Fact Sheet.   

    For any questions about the pier fishing issues or recommendations, please contact the City's Environmental Sustainability Division at (310)-802-5508.