Two Maine fishermen could be facing a $190,000 fine for illegally harvesting lobsters.
According to Reuters, Ricky Curtis and his son Todd are accused of possessing more than 400 egg-bearing female lobsters. If the two men are found guilty and are given the maximum penalty they could see a $190,000 fine. Ricky and Todd plead not guilty on Monday.
Colonel Joseph Fessenden, Marine Patrol chief, said:
“We consider this a very serious crime. The illegal taking of any lobsters negatively affects the resource and is a direct theft from those lobstermen who abide by the laws every day that they fish.”
The Penbay Pilot reports that all Maine fishermen are required to take part in the state’s v-notch program. Fishermen are supposed to mark female lobsters before releasing them back into the water. The Maine Patrol says that the practice extends protection for female lobsters past the breeding cycle and ensures that Maine’s waters are full of fresh lobster.
Ricky Curtis and his son Todd apparently forgot to take part in the program. Last year, a Marine patrol officer discovered hundreds of v-notched lobsters on a boat owned by Curtis.