California Beaches


La Jolla Children's Pool (Casa Beach)

Harbor Seal Controversy

In my 15 years as a beach reporter there has been one issue I couldn't stay on top of - the harbor seal controversy at La Jolla's Children's Pool (Casa Beach).

When the harbor seals started moving into the kids' beach play area, some people (not all) thought they should be protected and allowed to stake out the beach unfettered. In the past several years there have been ropes placed on the beach, harassment of people and harbor seals, video cameras documenting misdeeds, and much strife. Recently the pro-harbor seal group won a victory in December 2013 when San Diego City Council majority voted to close off the beach to humans during the harbor seal winter molting. Their vote is currently an advisory.

Now there's a stench from sea mammals and bird poop--a stench so bad that diner's at nearby outdoor patios and guests at the famed La Valencia Hotel are bailing out. Can you imagine planning the perfect outdoor wedding overlooking the Pacific Ocean and having to hold your breath because of the stink? That's pretty much what's happening.

An attorney who fought to save the harbor seals says that it's not them, it's encroaching sea lions that are stinking the place up at La Cove north of Children's Pool. He's apparently trying to help businesses to end practices of protecting sea lions (not the harbor seals.) This drama has been going on for several decades and its twists & turns are really difficult to write about accurately. There's one thing for sure, it stinks! A reporter on a Los Angeles news station added her own "two cents" to the story she reported on about the smell. She said she went to La Jolla recently and it smelled pretty bad. Merchants say it's a health menace. Tourists say it stinks--enough to leave.

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Near Coronado