ELLSWORTH — An Orland lobsterman will spend two days in jail, pay a $50,000 fine and lose his lobster license as a result of what a state official called “extreme” violations of the state’s lobster fishing laws.
Theodore Gray, 34, pleaded guilty Oct. 17 in Ellsworth District Court to charges of possession of undersized and V-notched lobsters and of molesting lobster equipment, according to the Department of Marine Resources (DMR).
The charges resulted from an investigation this spring by the Maine Marine Patrol and Maine Warden Service. Officials said Gray was charged with possession of 123 V-notched lobsters, 269 lobsters smaller than the legal limit and 20 traps belonging to another lobsterman.
Maine law requires that lobsters harvested measuring less than 3 8/32 inches be released immediately. Female lobsters found bearing eggs must have a V-shaped notch made in their tail and are prohibited from being harvested. DMR explained doing so “extends the lobster’s protection beyond the hatching of its eggs.”
“This was one of the most extreme cases involving violation of our state’s marine resources laws anyone in the department of the Marine Patrol can remember,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher.
Keliher announced he also was suspending Gray’s lobster license for three years, retroactive to June 23 of this year.
“This case sends a strong message that the state of Maine will use all the tools at its disposal to find and remove law breakers from the water and to support the work of law-abiding fishermen who work to sustain our vital marine resources,” Keliher said.
Maine Marine Patrol officers Owen Reed and Rustin Ames, working with the assistance of Game Warden Brian Tripp, conducted the investigation that led to Gray’s arrest.