Due to reports of broken and lost lobster trap tags in the Midcoast and Downeast regions, the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Marine Patrol are asking lobstermen with broken or lost tags to contact the nearest Marine Patrol office to arrange for free replacements.

Marine Patrol officials will also be supplied with replacement tags to provide them in the field to harvesters with broken or lost tags.

The Maine Marine Patrol is asking that broken tags, if they can be retrieved, be brought into the nearest Marine Patrol office or to a local Marine Patrol official and exchanged for new tags. Unbroken tags should remain on the traps.

If more than 10 percent of a lobsterman’s tags are damaged, all tags will be replaced free of charge.

“Normally, we charge a fee for replacement tags, but because of this issue, the Marine Patrol this season is offering replacement of tags for free,” said Marine Patrol Major Jon Cornish in a news release. “We believe this issue is the result of a minor defect in the manufacturing of the tags that has been resolved, however there are a number of tags that were distributed before the problem was fixed that are still in circulation."

Tags are used to identify the traps of a licensed harvester and must be affixed to each trap. Marine Patrol uses them to confirm that each trap in the water is associated with a license, which helps the department to maintain the health and sustainability of the fishery, Cornish said.

To arrange for replacement of broken tags, contact the Marine Patrol office in Lamoine at 667-3373 or in Boothbay at 633-9595.