YARMOUTH, N.S. — Three Nova Scotia fishermen face charges for the alleged mistreatment of a seal that was caught on video and posted to social media, says the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Doug Wentzell, the department's regional director of fisheries management, said the charges were laid after officials were alerted this week to a video showing alleged mistreatment of a seal aboard a vessel off Yarmouth, N.S.
A file photo shows a seal resting among the rocks near at a Warf in Neils Harbour, Nova Scotia. (Photo: Greg Ferens/The Canadian Press)
"Fishery officers were alerted by various members of the community," said Wentzell. "They used that information as well as the results of their investigation to lay the charges."
Wentzell said charges were filed against three people Wednesday in Yarmouth court," with respect to alleged illegal behaviour related to the treatment of a seal."
Graphic video taken off Facebook
Wentzell wouldn't discuss the contents of the video because the case is now in the court system.
The video was taken down off Facebook, but can still be found on the CBC web site. It shows a seal being taunted and prodded with a buoy, and being kicked amid laughter.
One man suggests "let's kill it," while another talks of getting a machete.
"Good seal. Good seal. Speak boy ... Do you want a treat, boy?" can be plainly heard.
Wentzell said the charges are related to two sections of the department's Marine Mammal Regulations and one section of the Fishery General Regulations.
Section 7 of the Marine Mammal Regulations stipulates that "No person shall disturb a marine mammal except when fishing for marine mammals under the authority of these regulations," while section 8 says "No person shall attempt to kill a marine mammal except in a manner that is designed to kill it quickly."
The fishery regulations section relates to the treatment of incidental catch onboard vessels.
Wentzell said the men, whose names have not been released, are scheduled to appear in a Yarmouth court to enter a plea on April 3.