Is Chumming Legal Off the Ocean Beach Pier?

by on June 26, 2015 · 3 comments

in Economy, Election, History, Labor, Life Events, Military, Ocean Beach

OB pier fishingIs chumming legal or allowed off the Ocean Beach Pier?

Okay, you ask, what’s “chumming”?

There’s a variety of modern slang-type of definitions, but in relation to fishing, it’s when people fishing off the pier or in the ocean cut up large chucks of bait and throw them over the railings or overboard in hopes of attracting large fish – like tuna – or like sharks.

If the fisherman or fisherwoman is trying to attract sharks while fishing off the OB Pier – or any pier – when there are surfers and swimmers nearby – that makes it an extremely dangerous activity.

It was suspected that chumming may have been partially responsible for attracting the sharks that attacked children off Oak Island in Southern North Carolina back in mid-June, where two kids each lost a limb. The incidents – 2 miles apart – were followed by calls to regulate chumming off a local pier.

About a year ago, we reported on an incident that occurred up in Manhattan Beach where a swimmer was bitten by a shark that had been attracted to the area by some guys suspected of chumming off the Manhattan Beach Pier.

However, according to the California Department of Fish and Game website there’s nothing that prohibits the practice:

Question: Can you help settle a debate please? Is intentionally chumming or blood baiting from shore or the pier permissible in California ocean waters? What specific regulations or laws apply? (Heather H.)

Answer: Yes, chumming in ocean waters is permitted statewide (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.05).

Nothing on the City’s piers website about the OB Pier or on extensive reviews and descriptions of the famous pier warns against it either. This is the only general fishing rule on the City’s website for piers:

Where fishing is permitted from the pier, a fishing license is not required, but catch regulations are enforced.

So, to answer our own question, chumming does appear to be legal off the OB Pier. But should be allowed?

Isn’t this an accident or shark attack just waiting to happen? What with all this heightened awareness of sharks – especially after the North Carolina attacks.  A city up the coast is buying a drone to scout the local ocean waters for sharks.

Yet, it’s never happened on the OB Pier before so why would it happen here? one asks. Large sharks are not attracted to our local waters.

Tell that to the surfers and swimmers to either side of the pier.

Seems like it’s just common sense to regulate the practice of chumming – especially off piers and other coastal spots. It’s another thing off a boat out in the open ocean. But next to swimmers and surfers? That’s just plain crazy.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Frances O'Neill Zimmerman June 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Chumming is legal off piers in California?
Legions of kids in the San Diego Junior Lifeguards program swim in the water around Ocean Beach Pier and they are explicitly taught to “avoid fishermen’s hooks.” The scary high-point of every two-week Junior Lifeguard session is a para-military rite of passage –kids line up to jump off the Pier into the water. TV stations turn out to film it and parents show up to watch. Nobody mentions chumming that draws sharks.


Richard June 27, 2015 at 8:16 am

Ignorance of the oceans and species within is profound! Chum Away Chum Away. It’s OK !


Richard June 27, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Do I need to articulate in detail my comment? I was simply saying that hysteria and fear based on unfounded speculation of danger in the local ocean from chumming is chicken little esque. As the saying goes the only thing you have fear is fear itself. Are you an ocean science denier? I’m disappointed that my comment was filtered in this manner. If you can’t post it the way I wrote it , I won’t waste my time again commenting on anything in your publication and will just continue to peruse for laughs. Thanks OB30


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