Shellfish violations

ELLSWORTH — Past shellfish law violators have been wrongly convicted of Class D crimes when in fact their violations were civil, according to District Attorney Matt Foster.

“They’re getting a criminal conviction on their record when they shouldn’t be,” he said.

Foster notified Hancock and Washington County municipalities July 22 that he intends to stop prosecuting municipal shellfish ordinance violations. He will still prosecute state shellfish ordinance violations.

“The shellfish wardens have authority to write violations of state law as well, and we will prosecute those,” Foster said. “Say there’s a clam flat closure in a state closed area; we’ll still prosecute that. If at that same time, the warden writes a summons for harvesting without a town license, that’s the town’s responsibility.”

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