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City Stalemate Over How To Protect Seals In La Jolla

Audio

Aired 3/18/10

The dilemma of how to protect the seals at La Jolla Children’s Pool, while preserving public access continues to baffle San Diego officials. The city’s Natural Resources Committee met yesterday and could not reach agreement on what to do.

The dilemma of how to protect the seals at La Jolla Children’s Pool, while preserving public access, continues to baffle San Diego officials. The city’s Natural Resources Committee met yesterday and could not reach agreement on what to do.

Seals sun bathe at Children's Pool beach in La Jolla.
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Above: Seals sun bathe at Children's Pool beach in La Jolla.

For more than a decade a battle has raged over whether seals should be allowed on the beach, which was originally created for children to swim.

State legislation has given the city clear legal authority to declare seal watching an acceptable use of the Children’s Pool.

What isn’t resolved is how to manage the marine reserve, and whether humans should be banned from the beach altogether, or at certain times.

Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who represents La Jolla, said city staff should come up with options after consulting with local residents, stakeholders and government agencies.

"A plan with buy-in from the community will have the greatest chance of long term success and we certainly haven’t had success at Children’s Pool," she said.

But committee chair, councilwoman Donna Frye, said that could take months.

"You can talk about it for the next ten years and you’re still not going to have a solution that everybody agrees with, "Frye said. "It's not going to happen, this is too divisive an issue. What concerns me is that we still do not have clear guidelines for how we’re going to deal with pupping season."

Pupping season is from mid December to mid May. A rope barrier is currently in place but the committee couldn’t agree about where that rope barrier should be. Nor could they agree on how to tackle the long term question of whether to allow beach access for the rest of the year.

The Council of Divers suggested a souvenir stand to raise money for uniformed monitors.

That and all other suggestions will have to wait till the city finds a way to move forward.

Comments

Avatar for user 'beachaccess'

beachaccess | March 18, 2010 at 9:39 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

The city of San Diego is not in control of the seal colony in La Jolla. A private sector harassment program of the seals in the ocean surrounding the Children's Pool will disperse the seals from the area.

BYE BYE MARINE MAMMAL PARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BYE BYE SEALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Avatar for user 'Califia'

Califia | April 10, 2010 at 9:40 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

Former city leaders should be held accountable and the current council must correct the past mistakes by continuing the shared use policy while seeking to reduce the seal population in the Children’s Pool. Discourage the buildup of animals currently using the pool and relocate animals that have been permanently imprinted to humans. The Children’s Pool can then return to the former balance with a seal population that has a natural wariness of humans. Truly wild seals would not remain with the close proximity of people.

A shared use plan without reducing seal populations still has people using the seal contaminated beach during the summer. Will the city clean the beach or allow it to be cleaned by volunteers to make it safe for human use during the summer?

The San Diego City Council did not react quickly enough to the overpopulation of seals caused by Sea World's rehab and release program and the assumption of authority by the seal activists.

How can it be that someone using a public beach has to worry about criminal prosecution for having been in the presence of a seal? If the seal takes notice of the person, lifts it’s head to look or returns to the ocean should we criminalize that persons actions? Under the strictest interpretation of the MMPA, that event would be a criminal violation for disturbing a marine mammal. This is an outrageous view of human conduct and a violation of human rights to interact with his or her environment.

The fact that most seals flee humans is normal and should not come with the threat of criminal prosecution or physical assault to someone using a public beach. Any seals that have lost their natural fear of humans should be relocated to more secluded areas to allow the remaining seals to restore the natural balance of human/seal interactions.

The overzealous attempt to ban people from Children's Pool by the pro seal activists should be exposed for the crime that it is. They should be moved away from the Children's Pool area until they learn to behave and respect the rights of all beach users. The constant harassment and intimidation by this group should never be tolerated and will lead to increasing problems as people resist their bullying.

The evidence is clear that this problem was caused by the San Diego City Council's many years of mis-management of the Children's Pool. They did not react quickly enough to the overpopulation of seals caused by Sea World's misguided rehabilitation and release program and the assumption of authority by the seal activists.

The seal activists will do anything to deny people legal access to Children’s Pool to save their open air pet shop. Given their way, all the seals will have cute names and people will have to wade through the sea of humanity at the La Jolla Cove to get to a sheltered ocean entry.Place no barriers to beach access at any time of the year. Continue the shared use policy, clean the beach and remove the pro seal / anti human terrorists.

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