Community View: New seal joins the herd

By Robert Johnson

On March 31, a rope was placed on the La Jolla Cove beach as a barrier to keep people away from a juvenile Northern elephant seal which had hauled out on the beach earlier in the day. I applaud the actions of the city of San Diego to keep people away from this elephant seal by placing the rope barrier on the beach.

It is time to realize that pinniped populations are increasing off the coast of San Diego, and the presence of pinnipeds on La Jolla pocket beaches will only increase.

Pacific harbor seals, California sea lions and Northern elephant seals are now using the Children’s Pool, South Casa Beach and the La Jolla Cove. It is only a matter of time before these La Jolla pocket beaches will have to be closed to humans because of the presence of these marine mammals.

Pinnipeds and humans cannot use the same beaches. It is just not possible. Enforcement of the Marine Mammal Protection Act means closing these beaches to humans because there is too much interference by humans into the daily behavior patterns of pinnipeds using the beaches. Anyway, people do not want to use beaches where pinnipeds are present because they are not clean like public beaches should be.

It is time to realize that marine mammals off Southern California are on the rebound and they are reclaiming some of their original territory. It is also time to remove the Children’s Pool sea wall so harbor seals can use their historic seal rock area instead of having to use the beach at Children’s Pool and the South Casa Beach on the other side of the sea wall.

Robert Johnson is a San Diego resident.