On Saturday, July 5th, Steven Robles was attacked by a 7-foot great white shark near the Manhattan Beach Pier in Southern California while going for a group long-distance swim. However, in this specific incident, the headlines alone don’t tell the whole story. The great white shark that attacked Steven Robles was caught on a fisherman’s line and had been struggling with the fisherman for a reported 45 minutes.
Robles fought off the shark after it bit into his torso, and was quickly brought back to the beach by a brave surfer who dared to paddle towards the attack in an effort to save the victim. Robles received several stitches in the hospital for the bite and an arm cast, but still sat down with reporters yesterday to discuss the attack:
In response to the incident, professional surfer and South Bay native, Alex Gray, released a statement on his Instagram account. In his post, Gray discusses the fisherman’s “negligent and disrespectful” actions, as well as our collective responsibility as surfers to protect both marine animals and swimmers in these situations.
Read Alex Gray’s full post below and follow him on Instagram @a_gray.
“This attack would’ve never happened if it wasn’t for this negligent and disrespectful fisherman named #JasonHagemann. Over the weekend, the news told of a swimmer attacked by a shark off the Manhattan Beach pier in California. The truth wasn’t seen until this video came out:
“This fisherman had a shark hooked on his line when a group of swimmers approached it. As you can tell by the video, he and his friends found it funny. The fisherman continues to keep the shark on his line as the swimmers pass right next to it. Rather than cut his line and alleviate the situation, the fisherman keeps the shark in the swimmers path and watches it attack one of them. Screams are then heard in the video from a swimmer.
“The fisherman’s friend says, ‘Oh no, someone’s been bitten.’ The fisherman laughs, and says it jumped right on him! This act of negligence shows a reckless disregard for the safety of people in the water.
“To #StevenRobles, the swimmer who was attacked: Everyone is so sorry you had to deal with this irresponsible fisherman. We all hope you are okay. And I would love to go for a swim with you when possible.
“To the fisherman: We, the ocean loving South Bay community, encourage you to think of the consequences of your actions. Please step forward and apologize to this swimmer. Sharks are NOT intentional predators of humans. Like any human being or other animal, when provoked or tormented they will fend for their life. Let’s give sea creatures the respect they deserve and leave them alone.
“There needs to be a change. I propose we ban near-shore shark fishing all together. It should be common sense not to bring sharks near swimmers on a fishing line. Apparently some humanity has no common sense anymore. Thank you for your time. The entire video is in my bio. #turkeymelt”
Although fishing for great white sharks is illegal in California, the fisherman has yet to face any formal charges for Saturday’s events.
Want more details about sharks in your area? Inform yourself with the Most Shark Infested Beaches in California.
*NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:
Since publishing this post, The city of Manhattan Beach instituted a temporary ban on pier fishing for 60 days amid questions over the public safety. Watch the video below: