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Sea lions showing up in large numbers inside the Santa Barbara harbor are a new concern for boaters

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Sea lions coming into the Santa Barbara harbor in larger than normal groups have raised several concerns by boaters. Especially those in the docks.

Some of the marine mammals weigh 600 to 1,000 pounds and they are jumping up on docked boats in many of the marina fingers. That could cause damages or bring the boat down below the water's surface.

Harbor Patrol Captain Nathan Alldredge said, "the last several weeks in particular has seen a pretty big uptake of California Sea Lions here. It is something that we are experiencing up and down the coast, especially in Northern California."

One or two is not an issue. "But what we are seeing is some congregation of ten to 15 of these animals  in one particular area," he said.  "You'll see some on the swim steps on boats."

The harbor patrols said there are certain techniques they can use to move the sea lions along but for now they just seem to be coming right back.

Patrol boats cruise by or the officers clap their hands, and for the moment it clears the deck.

"So we do our best to try to be responsive to slip holders here in the marina and work as a team to make sure we are addressing the issue," said Alldredge.

This is happening in many areas with San Francisco seeing over a thousand in one location at Pier 39.

On board a harbor patrol boat checking the marina fingers, Alldredge said, "my understanding is anchovies are plentiful up and down the coast. Where the food goes generally that's where the animals go too."

Eventually the sea lions are expected to head out to the well established colony on the channel islands.   

In the meantime this is considered to be a spot to feed, rest, warm up and see a new scene, closer to shore.

Alldredge said, "for people who have been here for several decades this is the largest amount of animals they have seen in awhile."

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
Santa Barbara
sea lions

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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