An animal-rights group campaigning for a ban on fishing from piers will send a banner flying over Southland beaches today with the message "Keep Hookers Off the Pier! Ban Fishing."
The aerial display by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will come just hours before the Manhattan Beach City Council meets and hears a report on the temporary fishing ban the city imposed for its pier after a shark that had been hooked by an angler bit a swimmer.
Steven Robles, 50, was bitten July 5 by a 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.
PETA has called on Manhattan Beach and other cities to permanently ban fishing from piers, saying the activity can attract sharks, and contending discarded fishing tackle can injure aquatic animals.
"PETA's banner will remind beach communities in Los Angeles County that the best way to protect coastal wildlife -- and keep swimmers safe -- is to ban pier fishing," said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "People who live in a coastal community can and should call their city council representatives and demand that permanent bans be passed as soon as possible.''
Manhattan Beach officials initially instituted a roughly three-day ban on fishing from the pier following the shark attack. But it later agreed to extend the ban until Sept. 7. The City Council is expected to discuss the issue at its 6 p.m. meeting today.
The plane towing the PETA banner is expected to take off at 11 a.m. from Long Beach, then fly between Redondo Beach and Zuma Beach until about 3 p.m.
Fishing for sharks is illegal, but state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials opted not to cite the anglers involved in the Manhattan Beach shark attack, saying there was no reason to believe they were targeting sharks.
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