Dan Simonelli, head of the Cove Swim Club, said the sea lion problem is “getting out of hand,” pointing out sea lions are now fouling the Cove beach and the steps leading down to it.
“It’s really becoming a public safety and cleanliness issue,” Simonelli said, adding he’s seen people walking through and children playing in affected areas not knowing what they’re blundering into.
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“Something needs to be done to clean it up on a daily basis,” Simonelli said, suggesting some kind of gate mechanism might be installed to “close it (stairs) off at night” and discourage sea lions from going where they’re unwanted.
Simonelli added he’s even witnessed marine mammals on the Cove stairs impeding lifeguards in the performance of their duties, forcing them to go out of their way to avoid the marine mammals.
“Every day, the sea lions get more habituated to being there,” said board member Bill Robbins. “I would like the city to continue to investigate the gate. We’re concerned about the safety of people and lifeguards.”
Longtime La Jolla resident Melinda Merryweather said the worsening situation at the Cove has turned into a “nightmare.”
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” concluded Simonelli.