By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press
The San Diego City Council is expected to adopt a proposal prohibiting public access to the beach at the Children’s Pool during harbor seal pupping season.
A staff report saying municipal and other laws against animal abuse have not been effective in preventing harassment of the seals will be presented at today’s (Feb 24) council meeting.
The proposal before the council would bar people from using the Children’s Pool from Dec. 15 to May 15 each year, when the seals are giving birth and weaning their young. The report calls for this proposed action as the “the minimum step” in preventing the harassment of seals.
SDFP has a video of one such incident of such harassment recorded yesterday (Sunday, February 23). An earlier incident can be seen here.
A note from the person posting the video says:
On 2/23/14 at about 1pm, [redacted] protests upcoming San Diego City Council vote on closing La Jolla seal rookery for pupping season by flushing mothers and nursing pups. Watch him in the upper right corner as he jumps into the water from the rocks by the sea wall, scaring all remaining seals off the beach.
[The individual named in the above comment has been redacted, since we have no means of authenticating that information.]
The city council will be voting on a resolution that dates back to 2010.
Because it’s a small beach, even entering the water opposite the side where the seals are, can still cause the seals to flush into the water,” said animal rights lawyer Bryan Pease.
“Mothers can become separated from their pups,” he said. “So the idea is to completely keep people off of the beach during the pupping season.”
The new restrictions, if approved, would not take effect until given the go-ahead by the California Coastal Commission— process that could take one year. The report from city staff says their counterparts at the commission support the seasonal beach closure.
Many La Jolla residents are opposed to the ban.
From CBS8 News:
The La Jolla Community Planning Association voted 9-6-1 at a meeting in January to reject the proposed ban. Area residents have never supported a seasonal beach closure, said Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who contends that the rope barrier has been an effective deterrent.
“The reality is that in recent years the harbor seal, sea lion and shorebird populations have dramatically exploded up and down the coastline,” Lightner said.
“The city needs to follow suit of other California municipalities, and put into place a comprehensive Coastal Management Plan to deal with protection of public beach access as well as health, safety and environmental issues caused by the proliferation of marine mammals along San Diego’s 23-mile shoreline.”