SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A rope barrier around 130 of the 133 feet of access to the Children's Pool beach swimming area is scheduled to be reinstalled Thursday, the beginning of the harbor seal pupping season.

Just how long the barrier remains up is a decision currently in the hands of the California Coastal Commission, said Bryan Pease, a lawyer representing animal rights groups that want the barrier to be made permanent.

Current city policy is to keep the rope up until pupping season ends on May 15.

The area near La Jolla Cove was gifted to the city of San Diego in 1931 as a safe beach swimming area for kids but was taken over by seals, touching off years of strife between animal rights activists and beach access activists.

One side wants the rope permanently in place and the other doesn't want a barrier at all.

In 2010, the San Diego City Council voted for a year-round rope, but Mayor Jerry Sanders ordered it to be in place only during pupping season.

Ken Hunrich of the Friends of the Children's Pool said the three-foot opening in the barrier is difficult to see for people approaching the beach.

New signs put up by the city emphasize that beach-goers should stay away from the seals.

The Coastal Commission is expected to consider the issue at its March meetings in Santa Cruz, Pease said.