Father, son charged with possession of 400 illegal lobster
Two Midcoast men have been charged with the possession of more than 400 illegal lobster.
Ricky Curtis, 48, of Union and his son, Todd Curtis, 29, of South Thomaston have been charged with illegal possession of v-notched and mutilated lobsters after an investigation by the Maine Marine Patrol.
More than 400 of the illegal lobsters were discovered during an inspection of Curtis’ vessel North Star by Marine Patrol Specialist Matthew Talbot and Marine Patrol Officer Wesley Dean. The potential fine for illegal possession of this many v-notch and mutilated lobsters in Maine is more than $190,000.
All lobstermen in the state of Maine participate in a mandatory v-notch program, requiring them to notch all egg-bearing lobsters prior to liberation. The practice of notching the tail of a known breeder extends her protection beyond the hatching of her eggs and plays a critical role in the conservation and propagation of Maine’s lobster resource.
“We consider this a very serious crime for a number of reasons,” said Col. Joseph Fessenden, chief of the Maine Marine Patrol, in a news release. “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.”
It is illegal to keep v-notched lobsters or those that have been mutilated in a manner which could hide or obliterate the v-notch. If a female lobster is carrying eggs, a v-notch tool or a sharp knife is used to remove a very small portion from the center of the tail’s flipper immediately to the right of the center flipper. This v-notch will remain through the next few molts allowing her to reproduce several more times.
An arraignment for the two men has been scheduled for Monday, Jan. 14 in Knox County District Court.