Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 5, 2014
Suspension process begins for accused lobsterman
Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher has initiated the process to suspend the license of Stonington-based lobsterman Theodore Gray, 34, for three years for violation of Maine marine resources law, according to a press release issued by the DMR.
The pending suspension is the result of a May 9 charge against Gray for “molesting lobster equipment.” An investigation by Marine Patrol Officers found Gray in possession of more than 20 lobster traps belonging to another harvester. “Molesting traps, which includes possessing someone else’s traps, has long been considered one of the most serious violations within the lobster fishery,” said Commissioner Keliher.
Gray, at that time, was also charged with possession of 123 short lobsters and 269 v-notched lobsters, both of which are Class D crimes with a possible penalty of a year in jail for each violation and a combined fine of over $100,000.
“Compounding the trap molesting charge are two of the most appalling violations of Maine’s lobster laws in decades,” added Keliher. “The charges for possession of hundreds of short lobsters and v-notched lobsters make this case a top priority for me, and I am committed to taking quick and decisive action against anyone who so deliberately disregards Maine’s critically important marine resources conservation laws.”
Under Maine law, the commissioner is authorized to administratively suspend the license of anyone licensed by the Department of Marine Resources for violation of marine resources laws. The law permits the commissioner to suspend a license, after a review of evidence from the investigation of criminal or civil violations, without waiting for a conviction.