B.C. fisherman charged after throwing 'bear-banger' at group of sea lions

A commercial fisherman from B.C. who was recorded throwing a "bear-banger" into a large gathering of seals and sea lions has been charged.

Fisherman Allan Marsden told CTV News in March 2019 that the video of him throwing the explosive device was intended to be educational, and was not meant to harass the wildlife.

Marsden said that he received a slew of threats and negative comments after the incident.

"The reaction has been fairly violent, more than I really would like," he said. "My life has been threatened several, several times."

However, he said that he believes that the majority of those comments were made by people who are not familiar with what he describes as a constant battle between commercial fisherman and pinnipeds. 

Marsden said that sea lion populations in B.C. have exploded over the past five years, and that the herring industry alone suffers up to $150,000 in damage to fishing equipment every year due to the marine mammal. He also said that many fishermen, including himself, have been attacked on their vessels by the animals.

However, after the "bear-banger" video first surfaced online last year, community members and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) condemned the use of the acoustic deterrent.

Reminder: it is illegal to disturb #seals, #sealions or other marine mammals. This includes the use of acoustic deterrents such as seal bombs or other explosives. If you see a disturbance to marine mammals in BC, please report it to us at 1-800-465-4336. https://t.co/kT9YQiR9rH pic.twitter.com/mKZSEmpueO

— DFO Pacific (@DFO_Pacific) March 7, 2019

Marsden is scheduled to appear at the Courtenay Law Courts on March 26, 2020. He faces two charges under the Fisheries Act and one charge under the Explosives Act.

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