In response to this weekend's shark attack in Manhattan Beach, in which a juvenile shark struggling to get free from an angler's hook bit a man who swam into the young animal's path, PETA sent a letter today to Mayor Amy Thomas Howorth asking her to make the new temporary ban on fishing off the city's pier permanent.
Here's that letter:
July 7, 2014
The Honorable Amy Thomas Howorth
Mayor of Manhattan Beach
Dear Mayor Howorth:
I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Southern California, to urge you, with all due respect, to place a permanent ban on fishing off the Manhattan Beach Pier. As you know, the temporary ban came about after a great white shark who had been hooked by an angler bit a passing swimmer this past weekend. The shark had struggled for more than 30 minutes to get free from the fishing line.
As this incident demonstrates, fishing in a populated area increases the risk that sharks will bite humans, whom they are otherwise uninterested in as prey. In addition to causing hooked sharks to lash out, fishing also attracts sharks who are lured by the smell of bait or blood from fish who have already been caught. When you consider that in 2012, anglers at the Manhattan Beach Pier reeled in at least four great white sharks on three separate occasions, it seems clear that the best way to protect public safety and reduce the risk that another swimmer will be injured or killed by a panicked or confused shark is to ban fishing at the pier permanently.
Banning fishing will spare some of the millions of sharks, birds, turtles, and other animals who sustain debilitating injuries after swallowing fish hooks or becoming entangled in fishing line every year. Wildlife rehabilitators say that discarded fishing tackle is one of the greatest threats to aquatic animals. As more information on fish sensitivity and pain receptivity has been in the news lately, another benefit to a ban is that fewer sensitive fish will be suffocated, gutted while still alive, or hooked and thrown back, only to die slowly and painfully from the resulting injuries and stress.
I hope that—in light of the dangers that angling poses to public safety and wildlife—you'll make this fishing ban permanent. Please contact me with any questions. Thank you for your consideration.
Executive Vice President