A long-awaited California Coastal Commission hearing is scheduled Wednesday on whether to keep a rope barrier designed to protect harbor seals up full-time at the in La Jolla.
The city of San Diego applied to the commission to keep the barrier up year-round to discourage visitors from annoying the seals that took over the beach a couple of decades ago. The barrier is currently up for six months – from December to May – when the marine mammals are giving birth and weaning their young.
Animal rights groups contend that seals harassed by people return to the water, sometimes abandoning their offspring.
The rope, which leaves a three-foot opening, is designed to discourage people from going onto the beach, not prevent them from doing so.
The animal rights groups are opposed by beach access advocates, who want the beach returned to its original use, as a safe swimming area for children.
CCC staff is recommending approval of the city's application, on the conditions that the city develop a plan to monitor conditions at the Children's Pool, submit annual reports on how many seals use the pool and the effectiveness of the rope, and that approval is for a three-year term.
The San Diego City Council voted to apply for a commission permit for the year-round rope in 2010.
The Coastal Commission will meet at 276 Fourth Ave., Chula Vista, CA 91910 at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The Children's Pool is agenda item 10D.
See the staff report with recommendations/PDF document to the right of this article.
–City News Service