A commercial herring harvester who used a ‘bear-banger’ to scare a group of sea lions near Hornby Island last year has been fined $8,000 and is prohibited from possessing explosives for the next three years.
Harvester Allan Marsden pleaded guilty in Courtenay Provincial Court Aug. 24, 2020, to disturbing marine mammals under the Marine Mammal Regulations.
Section 7.1(b) of the regulations states that: “no person shall disturb a marine mammal except … when fishing for marine mammals under the authority of these regulations.”
According to a release by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in March 2019, a video surfaced on social media showing Marsden tossing a modified explosive device into a group of sea lions. In the video, Marsden stated openly that his purpose in using the device was to deter the sea lions from interfering with his fishing operations.
The video prompted an investigation by fishery officers from the Georgia Basin North Conservation and Protection detachment out of Nanaimo.
Charges were laid against Marsden on Feb. 26, 2020; his court appearance was slated for March 26 but was delayed due to COVID-19.