"They are fishing off the side of a pier." -- from a TOEIC preparation book.

What does this sentence mean? I understand " by = next to " so " fish by the side of pier" makes sence to me. I don't understand why "off" is used here?Does "off" mean " away from" ?? Off = away from ??

So " fish off the side of a pier" = "fish away from the side of a pier" ? Does the original sentence mean "They are standing (far) away from the side of a pier to fish?"

Or it might have some other meaning?
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It means they are standing on one side of the pier and fishing.
They are standing on the pier. They are fishing 'off' the side of it into the sea.
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They are based on the pier and that's where they are fishing from/off.
Since we can say "fish from/IN a boat", can we say 'fish ON the pier"?

Thanks in advance.
I see nothing wrong with that. I was fishing on the pier when someone asked me to show them my licence.
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Thanks, Optilang.
Why use "off" the side? Why not "on" the side, " at " the side, "by" the side, "to" the side , etc? Why "off "??

What does " off " mean here??
It's just a collacation. The lines goes off the pier into the water. Not all prepositions make sense!
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