The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada is still trying to determine whether spikes seen sticking out of a float near Ucluelet’s public boat launch last month were placed intentionally to injure sea lions.
Tofino photographer Wayne Barnes was outraged on Oct. 13 when he was examining photos he had taken of sea lions hauled out on the float and realized large nails had been placed on wooden planks around the float’s perimeter. Barnes was one of several West Coast locals who had spotted the nails on the float, which is close to shore and in a high-use marine area, and reported it to DFO.
Fisheries Officer Dan Smith of DFO’s Tofino Field Unit told the Westerly News that the owner of the float has been spoken to, but who placed the nails and why remains unclear.
“We are still currently investigating the matter and can’t say much right now. I can tell you that the owner was contacted soon after this was first reported and the spikes were removed shortly after,” Smith said. “I can’t comment on charges at this point other than sec. 7 of the Marine Mammal Regulations does state that, ‘No person shall, disturb a marine mammal except when fishing for marine mammals under the authority of the Regulations.’”
Ucluelet RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Steve Mancini said police have interviewed the float’s owner and are working with DFO.
“An investigation is continuing with DFO in an attempt to determine how in fact those nails were put there and by whom,” Mancini said.