Anglers face being banned from fishing from much of a pier after blood and stinking fish guts damaged people’s clothing.
Councillors are planning the crackdown on Worthing Pier after repeated complaints about fishermen’s antisocial habits.
But the move is likely to spark uproar among anglers of all ages who cast their rods from the decking.
Chris Bradley, the borough council’s foreshore manager, said: “For several years now it has become apparent that a problem is escalating on the pier as a result of fishing activities.
“The main concerns are that fishermen leave their rods across the deck, which makes it difficult for walkers to pass.
“Fishermen overcast while the public are sitting in deckchairs. They cut up fish to use as bait on deckchair stacks.
“The blood then runs through the stacks, which in turn gets on people’s clothes. The remains of the fish gut are left on the decks and starts to smell, which leads to complaints from the public, the coffee shop owners and deckchair concessionaire.”
Mr Bradley said the pier was patrolled up to four times a day by foreshore inspectors but when they left, problems started up again.
He said: “The police have been called on several occasions to deal with persistent offenders as well as antisocial behaviour by youths throwing fish around and using foul language.
In 2006 new signage was put in place concerning rules for fishing, the removal of rubbish, cleaning the area when leaving, overhead casting, and “no fishing” areas to allow for the passage of boats under the pier.
“These signs had to be replaced some weeks later through vandalism.
The estimated cost for the new signs is £1,250.”
Mr Bradley said only the landing stage should now be used for fishing with the exception of two bays for disabled anglers on the decking near the end of the pier nightclub. In addition, a £6,000 security camera and tannoy system may be installed to deter tombstoning – jumping from the pier.
But Mike Perfect, who runs Prime Angling fishing tackle shop in Brighton Road, Worthing, said: “It’s the few who are spoiling it for the majority.
“I help organise night fishing competitions on the pier for Worthing Sea Anglers’ Association. One of the rules is you don’t leave litter.
“But the casual anglers are their own worst enemies.
“I cannot complain about the council’s actions. It has been coming for ages. I have been trying to educate people that they cannot do what they do on the pier without the council reacting.”
Mr Perfect hoped he could negotiate with the council to ensure future competitions could still go ahead from the decking.