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Nearly 70 sea lions and seals died in fish farm netting off Vancouver Island in 2010. (Wikimedia Commons)

Charges have been dropped against a B.C. salmon farming company after it reached a deal with the Department of Fisheries over the deaths of almost 70 sea lions and seals.

Sixty-five sea lions and four seals became entangled and drowned in nets at Grieg Seafood B.C.'s Gold River farm in early 2010.

Instead of charges, Grieg has agreed to invest $100,000 in three projects, most of which will go towards the Nootka Sound Watershed Society for community education.

In the 10 years of operations before that, the company had never experienced such drownings, but Grieg's managing director, Steward Hawthorn, says the animal's behaviour changed for some reason in 2010.

Grieg installed additional anti-predator nets around its fish pens after the drownings to prevent more sea mammal deaths.

The company says it's also sharing its experience with other firms and has established a set of best practices in marine mammal management.