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Coastal panel approves rope barrier to protect seals on La Jolla beach

July 11, 2012 |  5:11 pm

The California Coastal Commission, at a meeting Wednesday in Chula Vista, approved a request from the San Diego City Council for permission to erect a year-round rope barrier to protect seals on the beach at the Children's Pool in La Jolla.

The rope will stretch 152 feet to keep people from harassing the marine mammals. The rope barrier has been in place during the pupping season from mid-December to mid-May but the city needed approval from the commission to keep the barrier year-round.

The commission's decision came after hours of contentious comments from opposing sides in the controversy. One side asserts that the seals are ruining a beach meant for children and adult swimmers and divers; the pro-seal faction has long called for better protection for the animals.

Bryan Pease, attorney for the La Jolla Friends of the Seals, hailed the decision: "Finally the Coastal Commission  confirmed what we have been saying all along, which is that the rope guideline is consistent with the Coastal Act in protecting natural resources and should be implemented."

--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Seals at Children's Pool in La Jolla. Credit: David McNew / Getty Images