Charges laid in controversial B.C. ‘seal bomb’ incident caught on camera

Click to play video 'B.C. fisherman tosses ‘bear banger’ into pack of sea lions' B.C. fisherman tosses ‘bear banger’ into pack of sea lions
WATCH: This video may be disturbing to some viewers. A B.C. fisherman launches a 'bear banger' into the water near a pack of sea lions – Mar 7, 2019

A B.C. man filmed throwing a so-called “bear banger” into a raft of sea lions near Hornby Island last spring is facing charges under the Fisheries Act and Explosives Act.

The video, which came to light last March, shows Allen Marsden lighting the fuse on one of the explosive noise-makers and throwing it into the water where a large number of the animals had congregated.

READ MORE: ‘Disturbing’ video of ‘seal bomb’ sparks debate about conflict between fishers, B.C. sea lions

Court records show Marsden facing three charges, related to the disturbance of marine mammals and the use of explosives.

Click to play video 'Fisherman criticized for using ‘bear banger’ on sea lions' Fisherman criticized for using ‘bear banger’ on sea lions
Fisherman criticized for using ‘bear banger’ on sea lions – Mar 7, 2019

The records also indicate an intent to plead guilty.

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The video was initially posted to the Facebook group of the Pacific Balance Pinniped Society, a group of First Nations and commercial fishers advocating for a West Coast seal hunt, and drew support from other fishers and condemnation from people who describe the action as cruel.

Many fishers on B.C.’s south coast argue that the sea lion population has exploded in recent years and is devastating the fishery.

READ MORE: Seal meat supper? B.C. group calls for West Coast seal hunt

In a phone interview at the time the video emerged, Marsden told Global News the video was shot while he and his crew were taking samples of herring roe for the fishing industry.

Marsden said there were as many as 500 sea lions in the area, and that the bear banger was not actually effective on the animals, who he described as a danger to his crew.

However the Vancouver Aquarium says the device could cause injury to the sea lions’ face, eyes or jaw along with their hearing.

The aquarium says the area’s sea lion population has not exploded, but rather, has returned to historical levels after decades of aggressive hunting.

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