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"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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Comments  
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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