Target: Sherilyn Sarb, Deputy Director of the California Coastal Commission, San Diego branch
Goal: Give nursing seals complete privacy and protection during pupping season
Harbor seals have rested and nursed on beaches along the western coast of the United States for thousands of years. These same beaches are now heavily used by humans for relaxation and extracurricular activities. Humans are extremely curious about harbor seals and their pups, often encroaching on seal resting areas, resulting in the alarmed seals scooting back into the water and not receiving their necessary rest. A LaJolla, California beach, Casa Beach, experiences a multitude of nursing seals during pupping season. The human occupants of the beach propose a danger and nuisance to the seals and their pups and must not be allowed on the beach at all during this crucial time.
Recently, the San Diego city council ruled in favor of pupping season, instilling temporary annual seasonal closure of Casa Beach, from December 15 to May 15. While this ruling seemingly protects nursing seals and their pups, it only consists of roping off the portion of the beach used by seals, with no limitations to humans. This is also only a temporary solution with no long-term future. People simply move under the ropes and stand in close proximity to seals, even though the ropes symbolize a designated space for seals and pups. Seals and pups are scared back into the water, a dangerous situation because the marine mammals need to rest and nurse to maintain health.
For decades, humans who use the beach for activities have spoken out against the seals, insisting that resting, birthing or nursing seals should not be allowed to utilize the beach. The reality of this situation is this: The seals were there thousands of years before the humans. Insisting that the seals not be allowed this crucial resting and living area is selfish and dangerous to the future of LaJolla’s harbor seals.
The area that the seals prefer to inhabit for pupping season must be totally non-accessible during these crucial months. While the rope is a step in the right direction, it does not guarantee that seals and their pups are protected from harassment. Urge the California Coastal Commission (CCC) to consider closing the entire area the seals utilize, forbidding any humans from entering the area or the water from December to May. There would be observation areas above the beach, to satisfy curiosity in a healthy manner. Protecting the seals and their pups from any dangerous interaction or harassment is crucial for their comfort and survival. Sign this petition to tell the CCC to fully protect seals on Casa Beach.
Dear Sherilyn Sarb,
The San Diego branch of the California Coastal Commission ropes off a section of Casa Beach from December 15 to May 15, out of respect for resting, birthing and nursing seals. However, this rope is not commonplace for every season and does not fully prevent people from disturbing the shy seals. There are photographs of people standing in very close proximity to resting harbor seals and their pups, a dangerous and disruptive act of disregard for marine life.
I thank you for keeping resting harbor seals on the California Coastal Commission’s itinerary by acknowledging the San Diego City Council voted on barrier ropes for the mammals. I implore you to take the seals’ safety a step further and issue a full closure of the seals’ resting area on Casa Beach from December to May. This all-encompassing closure would ban any human from lingering too closely to the marine mammals, barricading the entire seal-utilized area for the entirety of pupping season. While there would be no water access for humans, there would be a lookout area higher up to satisfy curiosity.
Please do all that you can to ensure that the Casa Beach pupping grounds are completely non-accessible to humans during these crucial months, and help protect harbor seals and their pups from any dangerous interaction or harassment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Boyd Amanda via Wikimedia Commons