Three Charged with Violating Laws Intended to Protect Rebuilding Atlantic Herring Stock

Maine Department of Marine Resources sent this bulletin at 09/19/2019 02:36 PM EDT

Augusta – The Maine Marine Patrol has issued citations to three men for violating laws designed to protect the Atlantic herring fishery which has faced serious quota reductions in recent years

Glenn Robbins, 72 of Eliot, owner and captain of the fishing vessel Western Sea has been charged with exceeding the weekly limit of 160,000 pounds of herring, and with failing to file accurate reports of his harvest.

Maine herring regulations require harvester vessels to send an email to the Maine Department of Marine Resource (DMR) three hours prior to landing with information regarding the harvester, vessel and total catch. Marine Patrol’s investigation found that Robbins failed to properly notify DMR on two occasions.

The investigation, which took place during August and September, found that the fishing vessel Western Sea, operated by Robbins, exceeded the 160,000-pound weekly limit on two occasions. “At a time when regulators have drastically reduced harvest limits to address declining Atlantic herring recruitment, this is an especially egregious violation.” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jay Carroll.

Ethan Chase, 42 of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who also operated Robbins’ vessel, was cited for failing to properly notify DMR prior to landing and for exceeding the weekly harvest limit in September by over 110,000 pounds of herring, all of which was seized by Marine Patrol.

Dealer Dustin Reed, owner of wholesale seafood dealer New Moon Fisheries, has also been charged with failure to report herring he purchased and failure to hold a permit to buy and sell herring.

The charges against Robbins, Chase and Reed could result in fines of $100 per violation. However, while the civil fines are limited under law, the Commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources has the authority to suspend harvester and dealer licenses for failure to comply with reporting requirements and for exceeding landings limits.

“These violations are nothing short of a blatant disregard of the rules that protect Atlantic herring.” Said Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “Mr. Robbins has attended many herring management meetings over the years to speak to the need to protect this industry from over fishing. His actions and those of his crew are directly counter to his publicly stated positions – this is disappointing to say the least.”

“These charges are the result of a significant investigation by Maine Marine Patrol with support from the Maine State Police to uncover violations that cheat other harvesters and dealers who comply with quota and reporting requirements,” said Colonel Carroll. “By violating quota limits and reporting requirements, these violations also undermine efforts designed to re-build this critically important stock.” 14:44