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Man charged after throwing 'bear banger' near raft of sea lions
VANCOUVER -- A B.C. man who was recorded throwing a "bear banger" near a raft of sea lions last year has been charged with violating the Fisheries Act.
The video was posted to social media in March 2019, prompting outrage from some commenters and drawing condemnation from then-Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.
It shows dozens of sea lions swimming off the B.C. coast when the small explosive detonates nearby. The marine mammals then scatter under the surface of the water as someone chuckles off-camera.
On Tuesday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said commercial fisherman Allan Marsden has been charged with violating both the Fisheries Act and the Explosives Act.
Contravening the Fisheries Act carries a maximum fine of $100,000 for a first offence, though the DFO said it will be up to the courts to decide the size of the fine.
Marsden is scheduled to appear in court on March 26. He hasn't entered a plea in the case.
Last year, the fisherman told CTV News the video was intended to highlight the frustrations people in his industry face because of the growing pinniped population off the B.C. coast.
He said sea lions cause up to $150,000 worth of damage to fishing equipment every year in the herring industry alone, and that many fisherman have been attacked by the marine mammals – including Marsden himself.
"I'm lucky that I'm not in a wheelchair, or worse, dragged overboard and drowned by the sea lion," he said.
Marsden also insisted that he never intended to harass wildlife.
When responding to the video, Wilkinson acknowledged there are legitimate concerns about seals and sea lions on the west and east coasts, but said the behaviour was still "completely unacceptable."