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DMR Home > Gray Suspension

Suspension Process Begun for Orland Lobsterman Accused of Violation of Marine Resources Law

Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher has initiated the process necessary to suspend the license of lobsterman Theodore Gray, 34, of Orland for three years for violation of Maine marine resources law. While the pending suspension is the result of a May 9 charge against Gray for molesting lobster equipment, Gray was also charged with possession of 123 short lobsters and 269 v-notched lobsters, both of which are Class D crimes with a possibility of a year in jail for each violation and a combined possible 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 Commissioner 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.”

The trap molesting charge stemmed from an investigation by Marine Patrol Officers who found Gray in possession more than 20 lobster traps that belonged 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.

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.

“The ability to administratively suspend is a critically important mechanism for removing an offender from the fishery quickly and to eliminate the potential for tensions with other harvesters to escalate,” said Commissioner Keliher. “In a situation like this, with an individual who has been charged with such egregious violations, there is a very real potential for problems within a community should he remain in the fishery.”

“The vast majority of Maine’s licensed lobstermen abide by our state’s laws,” said Keliher. “In cases like this, the ability to act swiftly and to have sufficient penalties in place provides the Department of Marine Resources the necessary tools to protect Maine’s most valuable fishery and to safeguard the livelihood of those who follow the laws that sustain it.”