Illegal Catch: Massachusetts Lobster Poachers Charged

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BEVERLY, MA – You can call it the “Illegalist Catch” after a lobster boat docked in Beverly was caught taking in illegal and undersized lobsters.   The Massachusetts  Environmental Police were tipped off by a concerned citizen who witnessed the unloading.

On Wednesday, December 9, 2020, Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers, responding to a tip from a concerned citizen, conducted surveillance of lobster boats offloading their catch at a facility in Beverly. Officers subsequently conducted an inspection of the lobster crates they had observed being offloaded.

The first lobster measured was found to be undersized; after finding several violations within the first crate, all 25 crates were inspected. In total, the inspection found 69 undersized lobster, 23 v-notch female lobsters, 10 mutilated female lobsters, and one oversized lobster. Additionally, the wholesale facility did not possess a wholesale dealer permit. The illegal catch was seized and the individuals will appear in court at a later date.


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“A v-notch is a mark placed on the tail flipper of a female lobster as a means to identify a known breeder and protect them from possible harvest,” Mass. Environmental Police said.  “V-notching female lobsters is a cornerstone of conservation and a major component of the American Lobster Management Plan. V-notching increases the yield of the fishery and ensures there remains a large number of breeders in the lobster stock, ultimately adding to the sustainability of the population.”

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It is illegal to possess a v-notch lobster or any female lobster in which the v-notch flipper is mutilated in a manner that could hide, obscure, or obliterate such a mark.

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