OCEANSIDE, CA — The sea lions seen basking in the sun in Oceanside Harbor have been there as long as most people can remember. 

For those watching them from the shore along the harbor, they are a delight and a big draw for tourists who spend money in the surrounding shops and restaurants.  

“I wouldn’t come down here if it weren’t for the seals,” says Lynn Buraholder, who’s visiting from Chicago. ”They just make me happy, they look so relaxed.”

But for those who have slips here, they say the large sea mammals are troublesome. Some say the sea lions break their back ‘swim steps’ by using them to get aboard and then pooping all over their dock, not to mention the all night barking for those who live on their boats.

“The seal poop everywhere, they’re a nuisance, they stink — it just reeks to high heaven,” said one boat slip holder.

But that’s not all, he says when he goes out to sea for a paddle he carries with him the distinct smell of the sea lion, which can be dangerous. 

“The sea lion poop, that’s what the great whites eat and they’re outside the harbor,” he said. ” I smell like those guys and I’m not ready to die!”  

Not much can be done, however, as sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act put in place in 1975. Its unlawful to kill, harm or forcibly move them. 

Boat slip owners last week asked NOAA, the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Association that overseas marine mammals, to address the issue after complaints that tourists and fisherman were tossing their extra bait into the harbor, in turn, attracting more sea lions. 

The city has tried to mitigate the issue by giving them their own platform, but some say that’s not enough.