Seals Win Some Protection in La Jolla, California

The battle to protect the seals on the beach at La Jolla has been raging for a few years now as conservationists fight to protect the last seal rookery on the Southern California coast from being taken over by humans for recreational purposes.

On April 18thm the San Diego City Council voted 7 to 1 to install a rope barrier to keep people from harassing the seals during the pupping season from January 1st to May 1st.

The dissenting vote was made by Scott Peters who has been the longtime foe of the seals. Peters has encouraged the removal of the seals in return for support from a few vested interests who want the seals removed.

It is not the end of the fight as conservationists continue to challenge plans by the city of San Diego to dredge the beach and force the seals to leave.

The council voted in 2004 to dredge the beach to encourage tidal flushing, but the action has been caught in litigation. A trial court judge ruled in favor of dredging, but the issue is on appeal.

Friends of the Seals urged the council to vote in favor of the rope barrier, saying the 200-plus seals and their offspring need the protection.

NOAA has installed cameras at the cove to catch anyone harassing the seals.

"I hope in the future that the humans can be a little more respectful not just of the seals but of one another," said San Diego Councilwoman Donna Frye.