Rope barrier at Children's Pool taken down - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rope barrier at Children's Pool taken down

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LA JOLLA (CNS) - A rope barrier designed to discourage people from disturbing harbor seals at the Children's Pool during pupping season was removed Tuesday.

The city of San Diego puts the rope up on Dec. 15. May 15 is viewed as the last day of the six-month period for the seals to give birth and wean their young.

Bryan Pease, an attorney for the Animal Protection and Rescue League, said the beach was full of seals when the rope was taken away around 6:30 a.m.

"Seals continue to use the beach year-round, and when the rope comes down, tourists immediately start flocking to the seals, trying to pet them, and often unintentionally chasing them off the beach," said Pease, a City Council candidate who wants the rope to be kept up all year.

The Children's Pool was deeded to the city in 1931 to be used as a safe swimming spot for children. The seals began to use the area, sparking a years-long conflict between animal rights activists who want to protect the marine mammals, and beach access advocates who want it reclaimed for its intended use.

The battle is going before the California Coastal Commission in July. Instead of just having a rope to discourage people from going down to the beach, a majority of the City Council wants an outright ban on beach access during pupping season, and for a rope to be kept up the rest of the year.

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