Three lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia are facing charges under the Fisheries Act for actions taken against a seal that were videotaped and photographed and put onto Facebook.
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced the charges Wednesday and on Thursday a lobster fishing association in Yarmouth strongly condemned the actions of the fishermen, CBC News Nova Scotia reported.
"We want to make sure that the general public realizes that this was a very isolated incident," Bernie Berry, president of the Coldwater Lobster Association, told CBC News. "It doesn’t reflect in any way the behavior of the fishermen that ply their trade in this area."
Mark Allan MacKenzie, Jay Alexander Jenkins and Brendon Douglas James Porter face charges stemming from the mistreatment of a marine mammal and the handling of an incidental catch.
Video showing the seal being teased, poked, kicked and taunted was posted on MacKenzie's Facebook page but has since been removed. CBC News has the disturbing video:
Doug Wentzell, regional director of fisheries management for DFO, said the incident occurred earlier this week and that officials were alerted to the video by the public.
On the video, one can hear the fishermen saying "bark, bitch, bark" and "good seal" and "speak boy" and "OK, let's kill it."
Fisheries officials told CBC News that the seal was eventually killed, but that wasn't shown in the video. However, a disturbing photo of Jenkins holding a seal with a bloodied face was posted to Facebook.
"How can someone do that, especially just posting it and showing the world?" Brianna Swimm, who knows one of the fishermen, told CBC News.
Caitlin Buchanan, who is related to Jenkins, is also disturbed that someone would brag about such actions and flaunt them online. She is planning a rally for Friday in Yarmouth to publicly denounce the actions of the fishermen.
"Yarmouth prides itself on its fishing industry and it's not fair to have to wear these disgraceful actions," she told CBC News. "It's important not to treat this as normal."