When the State of Maine is mentioned, chances are lobsters come into your mind. For ages, lobsters have always been a critical part of the commercial fishing of the state. In a single year such as 2008 alone, lobsters harvested brought in more than $244 million for 69.7 million pounds of the commodity. There are diverse rules and laws surrounding lobster fishing which have to be followed. In fact, it’s recommended that before you find yourself violating any of the laws you need to talk or ask a Marine Patrol officer (Maine).
As a license holder, you also have the duty of submitting to search violations and inspections related to every licensed activity pertaining to lobsters. If you refuse to allow seizure or inspection it’s possible for any license you hold to be suspended (Maine Legislature). Before you catch any lobsters, be aware of the lobster laws of the land in the State of Maine.
Non commercial lobster related activity
You cannot receive a crab harvesting or non-commercial lobster license without being a State of Maine resident. With the license, you are allowed to transport or ship, possess, take and fish crabs and lobsters you have accessed. However, with a non commercial lobster you are not authorized to sell any lobster anywhere (Trails).
At the same time, non-commercial license holders cannot submerge over 5 traps for lobsters at any given time in the coastal waters of Maine; the total traps of five include traps for crabs. A non-commercial license for lobster fishing can only be issued to only one individual who must have a minimum of eight years of age while making the application (Maine).
Remember that a non-commercial license gives the licensed person the chance to engage in those activities defined. Any individual who is unlicensed and fishing with you cannot engage in or assist you in any of the licensed activities of a license holder. Such restrictions pertain to diverse areas such as bags baiting between the hauling traps, measuring or banding lobsters, handling or hauling traps for lobsters fishing as well as boat operation while hauling the traps (Maine Legislature).
Fishing related laws
There are also laws surrounding the methods of fishing lobsters. Firstly, it is a breach of the law to take or fish lobsters using any other method different from the normal lobster traps or fishing from any other platform apart from a vessel. A dock is not considered to be a vessel (Maine).
As you select the color of the buoy, it’s recommended that you ensure no other individual around your area is fishing using the same color patterns or the same color (s). The buoy you are using has to be permanently and clearly marked with the license number provided to you. The color design of the buoy must be shown on your boat in any of two ways (Maine Legislature):
- Display on a painted panel on both the boat’s sides and both sides of the hull before being attached to the frontal topside of the boat in a way that the color design is very visible from the two sides of the buoy. It’s also worth noting every color has to look like a color strip that’s solid, four inches high as well as a length of 18 inches adjoining a different color on the side its longest, to come up with a rectangle with a single inch of black border upon every side.
- The other method of displaying the color design on the buoy is ensuring it’s a minimum of 12 inches in length and mounted in a way that the color design is very visible on either of the boat’s sides.
At the same time, you might want to remember it’s illegal to lift, transfer, raise or set a lobster buoy or trap unless it has been marked clearly with a license for lobster fishing. Traps and buoys have to be marked visibly with the lobster license number (Maine).
Lobster fishing in closed periods
Hauling or raising lobster traps is illegal in closed periods. Essentially, it means it’s against the law of the state to haul lobsters half hour after dusk until half an hour before dawn from 1st of June to 31st of August.
It is also against the law to haul your gear for lobster fishing beyond Eastern Daylight Savings Time at 4pm on Saturday, until about thirty minutes before dawn the next Monday morning, between the beginning of June and the end of August with both days affected (Trails).
Penalties for undersized or oversized lobsters
Fishing undersized or oversized lobsters attracts a penalty while every violation attracts a $500 fine, including a $100 fine for the first five. Any lobsters above the first five attract a $200 fine; a case where the lobster numbers cannot be ascertained a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000 applies. However a court can easily suspend any fine imposed for undersized or oversized fishing of lobsters (Maine Legislature).
At the same time, it’s illegal to own any kind of lobsters or parts of a lobster that have been mutilated in a way that accurate measurement is impossible (Maine).
Lobsters bearing eggs
The eggs of a female lobster once released stick on the tail of the swimmerets, between 6,000 and 100,000 eggs. As such, possessing or taking away a lobsters that is bearing eggs is unlawful and attracts a fine of $1,000 for every violation, including a $200 fine for every lobster bearing eggs you have, up to the first five. Above five each lobster attracts a $400 fine. In case you have so many egg bearing lobsters, the fine is a minimum of $2,500 and can be above $10,000.
However, if an egg bearing female lobster is liberated immediately while alive back into the coastal waters, there is no infringement of the law. Even removing eggs is illegal and attracts $1,000 for each violation and another $300 for any involved lobster. Incase the number of eggs you have removed is not easily deciphered; the fine ranges between $1,000 and $5,000 (Maine Legislature).
Every lobster trap across Maine need to have a biodegradable panel of escape and escape vents. At the same time, lobsters have to be measured through the use of a gauge of double sides to ensure each lobster is a keeper. A gauge can be bought from any store supplying fishing gear. To catch the freshest Maine lobster without getting arrested be sure to shop on LobsterAnywhere.com.
- Maine. Licenses, https://www.maine.gov/dmr/commercial-fishing/
- Maine Legislature. Lobster and Crab Fishing Licenses, http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/12/title12sec6421.html
- Trails. Regulations for Lobster Fishing in Maine, https://www.trails.com/list_3763_regulations-lobster-fishing-maine.html