SWAN’S ISLAND, Maine — For the first time ever, a commercial fisherman in Maine has had all his licenses to fish permanently revoked, according to state officials.
Citing Lucas Lemoine’s history of violations, Patrick Keliher, commissioner the state Department of Marine Resources, permanently revoked his commercial fishing licenses on Tuesday, department officials indicated in a prepared statement released Thursday evening. Lemoine, 33, had licenses to fish for scallops and lobster.
Lemoine is the first Maine fisherman to have all his licenses to fish revoked by the department since a new law went into effect last year, according to the release. The law granted the DMR commissioner the right to revoke the license of any fisherman with six or more civil adjudications or criminal convictions for marine resource violations.
Lemoine has had 19 convictions or adjudications since 1998, when he was 16 years old.
“The decision to permanently revoke Lemoine’s commercial licenses was not one I made lightly,” Keliher said in the statement.
The most recent adjudication for Lemoine was on March 25, when Justice Robert Murray determined Lemoine had committed the civil violations of fishing in a closed area and fishing without a valid license in January 2014, according to court documents.
The judge’s decision was made only a little more than two weeks after Lemoine was charged in a separate incident on March 9.
In that incident, he is accused of trying to avoid detection as he dragged for scallops between Mount Desert Island and Swan’s Island near an underwater power cable that provides electricity to Swan’s Island’s 330 or so residents. Marine Patrol officers who were watching Lemoine charged him with dragging for scallops in an area with an underwater cable, dragging for scallops in a closed area, dragging for scallops at night, possession of undersized scallops and operating without navigation lights.
Keliher noted in the release that Lemoine was facing charges from three separate violations in 2014 when he was charged with the new criminal violations on March 9, which are still pending in court.
“He continues to show a pattern of willful disregard for our marine resources laws, so I have permanently revoked all of his licenses,” Keliher said.
Keliher sent Lemoine a letter on April 14 notifying him of the decision, DMR officials indicated. Lemoine can request an administrative hearing at which Keliher can reconsider all evidence presented and either reaffirm the revocation or reinstate the licenses. If Keliher were to decide to reinstate the licenses, they may be subject to a period of suspension depending on the evidence presented, according to the release.
Keliher said that commercial marine fishing in Maine is a privilege that, instead of being maintained for repeat offenders, should be granted to law-abiding people who have been waiting for licenses.
“This new authority is not one I anticipate having to use often, since the vast majority of license holders voluntarily comply with our laws,” Keliher said. “But when faced with people who, like Lucas Lemoine, demonstrate a pattern of disregard for the laws that protect and sustain our valuable marine resources, I will make use of any and all authority to remove those lawbreakers from the water.”