Manhattan Beach, California - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced they found no evidence state fishing laws were violated by an angler who hooked a white shark from the Manhattan Beach Pier.
An investigation including evidence from videos, social media and personal interviews did not provide proof there was intent by the angler to target white sharks.
It is legal to fish for the many species of sharks, rays and other fish that frequent the waters surrounding the pier using the same techniques used that day. Facebook posts and interviews resulted in evidence that showed the angler was targeting bat rays, but admitted to catching sharks including white sharks.
This is a legal activity and consistent with numerous other fishing practices in waters where similar tackle is used to catch a variety of fish species. Incidentally caught species that are not legal to keep must immediately be released. In this case, the line was cut before the fish was landed.
Although this was a very unfortunate incident where a person was injured, criminal prosecution requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed. Unless additional evidence is discovered, no charges will be pursued by CDFW in this case.
The department encourages a diverse range of ocean recreation and reminds all ocean users to be aware of their surroundings, including the activities of others, when recreating in or near the ocean.
CDFW looks forward to working closely with the city of Manhattan Beach to restore fishing access to the pier as soon as possible.