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Guilty plea in controversial B.C. ‘seal bomb’ incident caught on camera

Click to play video: 'Fisherman criticized for using ‘bear banger’ on sea lions' Fisherman criticized for using ‘bear banger’ on sea lions
WATCH: A B.C. herring fisherman is facing criticism for using a "bear banger" to scare sea lions away from his boat. John Hua reports – 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 has pleaded guilty to disturbing marine mammals, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said Tuesday.

Allan Marsden was fined $8,000 and prohibited from owning explosives for the next three years, DFO said.

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

Video that emerged last March showed 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.

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Following an investigation, Marsden was charged in February. A court appearance was initially slated for March 26, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marsden faced criticism on social media for his actions, but some fishers on B.C.’s south coast said the sea lion population has surged 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 there were as many as 500 sea lions in the area, which he described as a danger to his crew.

He went on to say the device wouldn’t harm the sea lions.

The Vancouver Aquarium said at the time that the device could hurt the animals and that the area’s sea lion population has not exploded, but rather, has returned to historical levels after decades of aggressive hunting.

— With files from Simon Little

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