Sea lions are a part of the fabric of any marine environment.

Whether you are on the water or landside at the Channel Islands Harbor, sea lions aren’t hard to find with your eyes – or ears.

Recently dozens of sea lions have snuggled up to a portion of sand just inside north jetty at the Harbor entrance. The sea lions have also found the rip rap a good place to rest as well.

Residents and visitors have taken notice.

For most of September and early October, people have been visiting the location to observe the sea lions and take pictures. While dozens of sea lions in one central location is an awesome sight to see, a local non-profit group is seeking to educate residents and visitors on how to view the wildlife properly and safely.

Volunteers with the Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI), a non-profit organization who aims to positively impact conservation through marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation, research, and education to promote ocean and human health, have been monitoring the sea lions and educating residents and visitors as resources permit.

In addition, CIMWI has posted signage at the location to educate the public on disturbing or feeding marine mammals. Here are some of the rules:

  • Do not disturb or feed marine mammals.
  • Marine mammals are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Violations can result in a civil penalty up to $11,000 as well as criminal penalties up to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to a year or both.
  • Observe the animal from a minimum distance of 50 feet for human and animal safely.
  • DO NOT:
    • Touch
    • Feed
    • Harass
    • Cover
    • Pour water on
    • Allow dogs near
    • Coax/drag/push into or out of the water
    • Take selfies

Please note, CIMWI does not have the authority to intervene if people violate any of these rules, nor is it their responsibility to watch over these healthy animals in their natural habitat. Concerns about people violating the MMPA should be directed to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964.

Editor’s Note: this story was published on October 6, 2021.