AUGUSTA — The Department of Marine Resources has begun the process of suspending the license of Theodore Gray, 34, of Orland for violating state law.
In a press release issued June 2, DMR noted it would seek a three-year suspension or Gray, who was charged on May 9 with possessing 123 undersized lobsters and 269 V-notched lobsters, and with molesting lobster gear. The charges are Class D crimes carrying the possible penalty of a year in jail for each violation and possible fines exceeding $100,000.
DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher had strong words about the charges against Gray.
“Compounding the trap molesting charge are two of the most appalling violations of Maine’s lobster laws in decades,” he said. “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 Maine Marine Patrol Officers who said they found Gray, who fishes out of Stonington, with 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,” Keliher.
Under state law, the commissioner is authorized to administratively suspend the license of anyone licensed by DMR for violating marine resources laws. The suspension may follow a review of evidence from the investigation of criminal or civil violations, even before a conviction.
“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,” Keliher said.