Seal of Approval

P.G. council makes harbor seal policy official.

Harbor seals, you’re on notice: If you haul out on Pacific Grove’s popular Lovers Point Beach, humans might barrage you with loud noises or scary sights. Unless you’re a mama or baby seal. Then they’ll leave you alone.

The P.G. City Council Oct. 16 unanimously agreed to clarify the harbor-seal protection policy in the city charter. If pups are delivered at Lovers Point, officials will temporarily close the beach, install fences and post signs to keep the public away while they wean.

But P.G.’s not exactly rolling out a pinniped welcome mat: Officials reserve the right to chase off adults and juveniles with noisemakers, scarecrows and false predators.

Harbor seals showed up on Lovers Point last pupping season, triggering federal protections and sparking a battle among residents – some of whom put up barricades and signs to keep people away, others removing those obstructions in defense of human recreation.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act requires people to stay away from seals, which could make the popular beach seasonally off-limits if mother seals keep coming back to give birth.  

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