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November 1, 2016

A $350K lobster turf war is being waged in Hancock County's waters

Courtesy / Tom Thai, Flickr
Courtesy / Tom Thai, Flickr
According to the Bangor Daily News, over 2,500 lobster traps have had their surface buoys cut in the waters off Hancock County.

There's a turf war going on off the waters of Hancock County and Operation Game Thief, in cooperation with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, is offering a $15,000 reward for any information that helps the Maine Marine Patrol catch the culprits.

The Bangor Daily News reported that over 2,500 lobster traps have been lost since the early summer because of the cutting of buoys on the boundary line between zones B and C, which according to the BDN "runs through Blue Hill Bay from Newbury Neck in Surry to Swan's Island."

"This trap war is without a doubt the most costly loss of gear I have witnessed in my 32-year career with the Maine Marine Patrol," Col. Jon Cornish, head of the DMR's law enforcement division, told the BDN. "In this instance, [total] gear loss is estimated to far exceed $350,000."

Although no one has been charged in connection with the spree, DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols told the BDN that the Marine Patrol believes up to 15 people could be involved in the trap cuttings and that the culprits could face fines of up to $500 stemming from the civil violation and a possible multi-year suspension of their fishing license.

Photo: Tom Thai/Flickr

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