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La Jolla Cove Faces Another Smell Problem

Editor's note: an earlier version of this story listed seals at La Jolla Cove. It is only sea lions.

Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

The decades-old problem of smelly bird poop in La Jolla Cove is being replaced by a new problem — smelly sea lion poop.

The decades-old problem of smelly bird poop in La Jolla Cove is being replaced by a new problem — smelly sea lion poop.

With the arrival of pupping season, the resulting odor in the area has become bothersome for tourists and San Diego residents alike.

Susan Fisher, an El Cajon resident, visits the cove twice a week and said the smell detracts from the beauty of the area.

“If I were a tourist I’d probably walk by very quickly and want to go some place else,” Fisher said.

Nearby businesses are facing challenges due to the smell. Some visitors staying at the historic La Valencia Hotel have had to seek accommodations elsewhere, and George Hauer, owner of George’s By The Cove restaurant, told 10News the smell is killing business.

A representative from City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner’s office said solving the problem is complicated because of state and federal environmental protection laws. Lightner’s council district includes La Jolla.

The city did perform a two-day cleanup of bird poop in June and a follow-up treatment in September, but there is currently no specific plan to address the seal and sea lion poop.

Until a plan is created, visitors will have to find ways to ignore the smell. Katie Lawler, visiting from New Jersey, chose to focus on the scenery.

“I think the beautiful weather and nice sunshine outweighs the fishy smell. We can ignore that, but it does smell a little interesting,” she said.

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