Fisheries Act protections for Canada’s marine mammals upheld as “bear-banger” court case against commercial skipper concludes in British Columbia

News release

September 8, 2020 

Courtenay, B.C. - Fisheries and Oceans Canada is committed to protecting Canada’s wildlife and biodiversity and safeguarding the long-term health and productivity of Canada’s fisheries resources. These efforts include enforcing the Fisheries Act and Marine Mammal Regulations. On Aug. 24, 2020, B.C. harvester Allan Marsden pleaded guilty in Courtenay Provincial Court to disturbing marine mammals under section 7.1(b) of the Marine Mammal Regulations. Mr. Marsden was fined $8,000 and prohibited from possessing explosives for the next three years.

Section 7.1(b) of the Marine Mammal Regulations states that: "No person shall disturb a marine mammal except… when fishing for marine mammals under the authority of these Regulations."

In March 2019, a video surfaced on social media showing Mr. Marsden, a commercial herring harvester, tossing a modified explosive device into a group of sea lions near Hornby Island. In the video Mr. Marsden stated openly that his purpose in using the explosive device was to deter the sea lions from interfering with his fishing operations.

The video prompted a lengthy investigation by fishery officers from the Georgia Basin North Conservation and Protection detachment out of Nanaimo. Charges were subsequently laid against Mr. Marsden on Feb. 26, 2020. Mr. Marsden’s court appearance was initially slated for March 26, 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a mandate to protect and conserve marine resources and to prosecute offenders under the Fisheries Act. It ensures and promotes compliance with the Act and other laws and regulations through a combination of land, air, and sea patrols, as well as education and awareness activities.

As part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s work to end illegal activity, the Department asks the public for information on activities of this nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and regulations. Anyone with information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336, or email the details to DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.


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Contacts

Leri Davies, Strategic Media Relations Advisor
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
Cell: 604-612-6837
Leri.davies@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
613-990-7537
Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.caMedia.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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