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City Stalemate Over How To Protect Seals In La Jolla

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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.

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.

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