Wednesday, March 12, 2008

La Jolla seal beach controversy continues

There's a quiet, little, sheltered cove in La Jolla, CA that continues to be the subject of controversy between animal protection advocates and members of the public who claim a right to access and to use the Children's Pool as a swimming beach. Before the sea wall was built, the site was a natural beach, with a shallow water area serving as a channel between a large offshore rock and mainland bluff. In the 1930's the townspeople built the jetty to shelter the cove so their children could enjoy the calm water. The beach is still called "The Children's Pool," but since the 1970's, the seals have moved in and taken it over. Harbor seals are protected from harassment by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and other legislation, but some local interests would like to see the seals leave so that people can resume using the beach. They say a 1931 state tidelands grant transferring ownership of the cove to San Diego gives humans priority over seals. The latest ruling, from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is a victory for the San Diego-based Animal Protection and Rescue League. They can reinstall a guideline rope to keep sightseers away from a colony of harbor seals during their pupping season through May. I took the above photo, and the one to the left, in March of 2006. At that time, there were volunteers standing guard at the beach, explaining to visitors that they couldn't legally be kept off the sand and away from the seals, but they were encouraged to stay on the observation pier. I did see a handful of renegades who disregarded the requests and walked to within a few feet of the seals. I've been back several times to visit the seals. A trip to San Diego is not complete without a drive to La Jolla and the seal beach. I enjoy watching the seals - they're very entertaining - and quiet. I'd rather watch them than a bunch of screaming children. "seal beach, LaJolla", "La Jolla Beach California" and "What are you looking at?" by corsi photo

4 comments:

jan said...

hehehe. I'd rather watch the seals than not only screaming children but all manner of obnoxious people.

Kerri said...

all i can say is that people are so selfish...why would you ever want to disturb the seals? it makes no sense...i live in la jolla and make it a point to walk or take my run down to seal beach atleast once a week. It's such a wonderful sacred place to go observe these beautiful wild animals. Ive noticed a lot more people going down on the beach trying to get a closer look or even a picture next to one. It makes me so sad to see that...especially with all the signs warning you that the seals are preserved..and now that they just passed the law today to open the beach to the public again I know that nothing good is going to come to this. I'm sorry for the seals...and I'm sorry for all the ignorant people in this world!

Coach CH said...

I have grown up in Southern California and it amazes me that there is such a controversy over this issue. There are miles and miles and miles of beaches in Southern California and people are outraged by the seals!? Walk about 1/4 mile either way and sit on any of those beaches! Let nature take it's course and leave the seals alone!!!

Dani said...

This whole issue disgusts me. Why are people so rude? Why can't we let the seals have that one little beach and we all can go swim in the miles of other public beaches on the san diego coast lines. Great blog!