Myrtle Beach council decides not to change shark ‘chumming’ policy

People fill the 2nd Ave. Pier in Myrtle Beach on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.
People fill the 2nd Ave. Pier in Myrtle Beach on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. jblackmon@thesunnews.com

There won’t be buckets placed at 2nd Ave Pier and Pier 14 for fisherman to dispose of their fish guts after all.

Myrtle Beach City Council on Tuesday decided not to move forward with an ordinance that would have made it illegal to dump fish parts into the ocean and require businesses to place buckets to collect those fish parts on the two piers in the city. The proposal was made by city beach patrol officers in response to the recent shark bites reported as nearby as North Carolina.

“There’s no way possible you can put the fish guts into a can and take them away,” 2nd Ave Pier owner Teak Collins said during a council workshop Tuesday morning. “It’s easy to write on a piece of paper and might have sounded good brain storming. ... But it’s just a can of worms.”

City Manager John Pedersen said the ordinance was a way to avoid drawing sharks to the shore with what he said amounted to putting “chum” into the water. The city would have provided the signs that would be posted at the piers, containers and staff to empty the trash at least daily.

Pedersen said the city, though it already has a law that prohibits fishing for sharks, wanted to be proactive and take the additional steps to keep beachgoers safe.

“That’s a little too proactive,” Collins said.

Collins said 2nd Ave Pier employees already tell those fishing that chumming for sharks is prohibited.

“We would be proactive with you with signs that say no chumming,” he said. “I understand it’s kind of the summer of sharks, but I think we’re jumping the gun.”

City Council could decide to place “no chumming” signs at the two Myrtle Beach piers at some point in the future.

Several council members said they were concerned with the smell that would come from the containers and end up causing problems for guests at nearby hotels.

“I’ve never smelled a pleasant garbage container, period,” Councilman Mike Lowder said. “And then you put fish in it? I’d like to hear how you’d resolve that part.”

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or on Twitter @TSN_mprabhu.

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