The licenses of two Maine lobstermen have been suspended for six years because the Department of Marine Resources determined that the men illegally removed eggs from female lobsters.

Dexter Bray Jr., 36, of Stonington and Philip Poland, 42, of Cushing will lose their licenses as the result of separate investigations, the Department of Marine Resources said Tuesday in a press release.

Bray is accused of “scrubbing” female lobsters – removing eggs from the underside of a female lobster’s tail. Marine Patrol investigators said an anonymous tipster contacted them last spring and told them that Bray had tried to sell two egg-bearing lobsters at a lobster co-op in Stonington. Bray could face a fine of as much as $1,600.

Investigators who received an anonymous complaint last summer said that Poland removed eggs from three female lobsters. Poland could face a fine of as much as $1,900.

State officials say the violations of marine resource laws are among the worst they see because the acts reduce the fishery resource.

“Scrubbing lobsters is one of the most serious violations of marine resource laws we see,” said Maine Marine Patrol Col. Jon Cornish. “By removing eggs to make a short-term monetary gain, criminals deny future generations of fishermen the opportunity those eggs represent. Just as important, they undermine the work law abiding harvesters do every day to sustain this important resource.”

Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said in a prepared statement, “These are very difficult cases to make and the officers did an outstanding job of bringing this behavior to an end.”

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