A volunteer with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said yesterday the group will ignore charges laid against them in relation to their observation of the annual seal hunt.
“The charges, they really don’t mean anything,” said Shannon Mann, a society member on board the group’s vessel the Farley Mowat.
“We are a Dutch-registered yacht and we have freedom of passage in international waters through international maritime law, so those laws don’t apply for us.”
She spoke for Capt. Alexander Cornelissen and First Officer Peter Hammarstedt, charged with violating the Marine Mammal Regulations for not having a seal fishery observation licence to validate their proximity to this year’s seal hunt off the coast of Cape Breton.
A second charge was laid for obstructing or hindering a fishery officer carrying out duties under the act.
Loyola Hearn, minister of fisheries and oceans, announced Saturday the charges were the result of an investigation into a collision between the Farley Mowat and a Canadian coast guard vessel last week.
The department maintains the Sea Shepherd crew purposely pulled in too close to the coast guard ship in a confrontational manner.
The charges have been brought forward in Nova Scotia, and could result in fines of up to $100,000 or a year in prison.