PORTLAND – It’s common practice for Maine-based trawlers to unload in Massachusetts, where they can sell the lobster that inadvertently ends up in their nets.
But it’s against the law, and has been for decades.
Boats normally are allowed to catch up to 100 lobsters a day – or 500 per trip – in federal waters.
But the Maine law is stricter and applies to Maine-based trawlers, said Col. Joe Fessenden of the Maine Marine Patrol.
However, the Maine Marine Patrol has been powerless to stop the trend because the federal government has declined to enforce the law and the Maine Marine Patrol has no jurisdiction outside Maine waters, Fessenden said.
Officially, though, the law is clear. “The only way you can take lobster in Maine is by trap,” Fessenden said.