Using high-powered surveillance equipment, Wildlife Officers Vicknair and Richards followed up on the tip and observed eight subjects fishing off of the south arm of the pier. The wildlife officers followed the suspects back to their car. Richards noticed several hoop nets, which are used for catching lobster, being loaded into the vehicle.
Richards asked to see the suspects’ fishing gear and catch. Upon inspection of the hoop nets, Richards noticed remnants of seaweed and kelp along with some bait still in the mesh.
Richards then asked about the contents of a cooler and was told that it contained “just beer.” The fishermen were asked to open the cooler and inside were nothing but spiny lobsters. Richards counted a total of 56 lobsters, of which 55 were undersized. After questioning all of the suspects, one person claimed that he had taken all of the lobster. He was cited and all of the lobsters were returned to the wild.
The 2014 lobster season does not begin until Sept. 27.
The suspect was charged with 56 counts of taking lobsters out of season, 7 counts of possessing an overlimit of lobsters, 55 counts of possessing undersized lobsters and 1 count of no report card. If convicted, he faces up to $1000 fine and six months in jail for each offense.