TREMONT — A Swans Island fisherman has been charged with five violations after allegedly dragging for scallops illegally under the cover of darkness Monday in the vicinity of an underwater electrical cable.
Lucas Lemoine, 33, skipper of the Foxy Lady, was summonsed on charges of dragging scallops in a cable area, scalloping during a closed period, taking scallops in a closed area, possession of undersized scallops and for failure to display navigational lights.
Officer Jeff Turcotte said the marine patrol began watching Lemoine’s fishing activities earlier in the scallop season, which began Dec. 1.
“We had complaints about some of his activities,” Turcotte said.
Early Monday morning, Turcotte and Officer Brent Chasse were outside of Bass Harbor in a small boat doing surveillance when they saw the Foxy Lady leave the harbor and allegedly begin dragging near the northwest side of Lopaus Point.
“We were able to watch him drag for scallops before sunrise,” Turcotte said.
That is a violation in itself, Turcotte said; it is legal to fish for scallops only during daylight hours.
Lemoine was operating his boat without navigation lights in an attempt to avoid detection, Turcotte said.
When the marine patrol officers approached the Foxy Lady in their boat, Lemoine was dragging gear along the bottom in the restricted area where an underwater cable supplies electricity to Swans Island, Turcotte said. Scallops are often abundant in cable areas because no fishing is allowed there.
The officers boarded the boat and found harvested scallops, some which they claim were undersized.
Dragging in a cable area is a class D criminal violation, Turcotte said. The others are civil violations. However, the charges could lead to a more serious penalty for Lemoine.
“He has the potential to lose his license for a long time,” Turcotte said.
Lemoine has been charged in the past with taking scallops in a closed area and for possession of undersized scallops. Turcotte said he did not know the disposition of those cases.
The complaints about Lemoine’s illegal fishing came from other fishermen, Turcotte said.
“We pride ourselves with having a good relationship with the fishing community.”