Tenants Harbor lobsterman seeks protection after alleged threat

Posted Oct. 27, 2009, at 11 a.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Officials are investigating a complaint that two Tenants Harbor lobstermen cut traps and threatened another lobsterman with a shotgun last week.

Evidence is expected to be presented to the Knox County District Attorney’s Office this week, according to Sgt. Marlowe Sonksen of the Maine Marine Patrol.

The incident allegedly occurred at sea last Thursday, according to a Temporary Protection From Harassment order filed Friday in Rockland District Court. Ty Babb of Tenants Harbor wrote that lobstermen Craig Hupper and his son, Josh Hupper, all of Tenants Harbor, were cutting Babb’s traps. He also wrote that Josh Hupper threatened him with a gun.

Sonksen said that all of the fishermen involved in the incident are known to his agency and that no one was hurt.

“Both sides have informed us of the problems they’re having,” Sonksen said Tuesday morning.

He said Marine Patrol investigators did find evidence of cut buoys.

“That happens fairly frequently,” Sonksen said.

The alleged gun threatening is the latest in a string of problems for lobstermen in western Penobscot Bay. In July, a Matinicus lobsterman was shot in the neck by another, and in August, three lobster boats were vandalized and two sunk in Owls Head harbor.

“All this vandalism and trap cutting just continues on,” said Col. Joseph Fessenden of the Maine Marine Patrol. “People get frustrated and they don’t know what to do. These conflicts do continue and they’re not going to go away. Things just don’t seem to be quieting down for us.”

During all of the lobster-related conflicts, the Maine Marine Patrol has been working closely with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Maine State Police, Fessenden said.

“The day after the incident, we spent most of the day down there with one of our patrol vessels, monitoring both boats,” Col. Joseph Fessenden of the Maine Marine Patrol said Tuesday morning. “There was some jousting around with the boats, but they didn’t cross the line.”

Sonksen said the Marine Patrol will continue to monitor the activities “on a daily basis” of all the parties involved.

The hearing to consider granting Babb a continued Protection from Harassment order is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13, at 6th District Court in Rockland.

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