After Steven Robles, 50, was attacked by a seven-foot juvenile great white shark while swimming off Manhattan Beach, California over July 4th weekend, Manhattan Beach Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Powell and California state wildlife officials are considering a permanent ban on any fishing activity from the beach’s popular pier. Many in the Manhattan Beach community are blaming fishing bait for bringing in the shark. Immediately following the attack on Mr. Robles, officials placed a moratorium on fishing from the pier, pending consultation with wildlife experts and a vote by the City Council.
The Ban Stands on Faulty Logic
Frankly, that Manhattan Beach would consider putting the blame for a natural occurrence on the heads of local fishermen is asinine. Shark attacks are so exceedingly rare that for one to occur, especially one involving a great white, it can only be seen as a natural, though unfortunate, occurrence, no different from a tornado. According to the most recent statistics from Oceana, only 176 shark attacks occurred between 2006 and 2010 in the United States. Worldwide, only 4.2 people are killed by a shark per year. In other words, the chances of an attack are infinitesimally small.
The powers that be in Manhattan Beach need a scapegoat to peg the attack on, because people aren’t satisfied by calling something an act of nature. Sharks are attracted by a number of different things. Biological compounds in urine, erratic movement, high density of electromagnetic signals — all of these are put off by the mass of people who regular swim at Manhattan Beach. Of course, you can’t really tell a transient population that generates $2.8 million for the local economy that they likely attract sharks more than a few bait fish on hooks.
Do you think a ban on fishing from Manhattan Beach’s pier is a sensible thing to do? Share your thoughts in the comments below.