A B.C. commercial herring fisherman has been fined $8,000 for tossing a modified explosive into a group of sea lions near Hornby Island last year.
Allan Marsden pleaded guilty in Courtenay Provincial Court Aug. 24 on charges under the Marine Mammal Regulations prohibiting persons from disturbing, harming or killing marine mammals except during their legal harvesting.
In March last year a video circulated on social media showing Marsden tossing a bear banger into a group of about two dozen sea lions. He is heard saying the purpose was to deter them from interfering with his fishing operations.
The explosive floated in the water for several seconds before detonating, throwing the sea lions into a panic and dive underwater.
Increasing populations of pinipeds, like sea lions, is a flash point with fishermen who say predation on finfish is destroying public fisheries, and conservationists who say the natural balance is only now being restored after decades of destructive culls.
Seals and sea lions have been protected in B.C. waters since 1970.
Richmond-based Pacific Balance Pinniped Society is pressing DFO to consider a managed Indigenous fishery for seals and sea lions. Society members are convinced that a pinniped explosion is a contributing factor to declining populations of wild salmon and other finfish along the B.C. coast.
Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View