Southern California environment news and trends

Commission OKs year-round seal barrier on La Jolla beach

Seals Occupy La Jolla's Children's Pool Beach

David McNew/Getty Images

Spectators watch slumbering harbor seals from behind a rope barrier at Children's Pool Beach.

A contentious battle regarding a year-round rope to protect seals living at Children’s Pool beach in La Jolla came to a head this week, with the California Coastal Commission voting unanimously to approve the permanent barrier. As reported by the La Jolla Patch, the vote came after hours of often-emotional testimony from more than 60 speakers debating the pros and cons of such an enclosure. During testimony, videos were shown of people on both sides of the issue “interacting negatively towards each other.”

“What I think is going on here is not a problem with the seals and it’s not a problem with the rope. It’s a problem with people,” said Commissioner Dayna Bochco during the proceedings. “Nothing will work unless all of you are willing to work together. There are no humans here to be sympathetic with.”


Jaws 2012: Shark encounters abound on both coasts

Cage Diving With Great White Sharks In South Africa

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

From the chilling shot of a shark’s dorsal fin closing in on a solo boater in Cape Cod to a kayaker in Santa Cruz County being attacked by a Great White, America hasn’t seen this much coastal shark activity since “Jaws” dominated the 1975 summer movie box office.

As reported by the Mercury News, a 52-year-old man was approximately a quarter-mile from the shore of Pleasure Point this past Saturday morning when a shark attacked the bright yellow 13.5-foot kayak he was using to fish, sending him into the water as the shark, estimated at 18 feet long and suspected to be a Great White, chomped on the kayak. The man was rescued shaken but unharmed by a nearby boat.

“It started with a violent jolt on the rear starboard side. The back of my kayak rose a few feet then the attack soon happened,” wrote the attack survivor on the message board, posting as “FishingAddict.” “I saw the shark's head come out of the water and bite the starboard underside. His head was gray and white underneath his mouth. His mouth was already close when I saw him come out of the surface with my kayak in his mouth.  I can still vividly see the seriousness on his eyes. This all happened in about 2 seconds.

“The force of his attack threw me into the water and turned the Revo completely upside down.  I immediately started yelling, ‘SHARK, SHARK!’ several times…” his accounted continued. “I see the private boat heading towards me and in a flash decided it’s my best chance of survival.  I did a slow breaststroke towards the boat and jumped (aboard).”