Tenants Harbor lobstermen ordered to avoid each other

Posted Nov. 13, 2009, at 2:06 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Feuding Tenants Harbor lobstermen were told Friday morning at Knox County District Court to stay away from each other for a year.

Ty Babb, 36, and Craig C. Hupper, 58, and his son, Joshua B. Hupper, 27, agreed to a mutual order for protection from harassment after Judge Michael Westcott had them work the details out among themselves.

“The court can’t be very innovative, but the parties can,” Westcott said. “It seems to me that in this type of case, you ought to see if you can resolve it.”

A cooperative resolution did not seem very likely on Oct. 22, when Babb alleged that the Huppers had brandished a shotgun at him when all were fishing two miles out to sea. The incident apparently was the culmination of several weeks of escalating tensions, including accusations from both sides of lobster traps being cut and some alleged verbal hostilities.

“I’ve hardly spoken to them at all for the last 30 years, so it shouldn’t be a big deal,” Babb said of the conditions of the protection from harassment order.

According to the order, Babb and the Huppers are prohibited from “harassing, threatening, assaulting, molesting, attacking or otherwise abusing” each other until Nov. 12, 2010, when the order runs out. They also are prohibited from going onto each other’s property or having direct or indirect contact with each other.

The shotgun incident is the latest in a string of high-profile troubles for lobstermen in western Penobscot Bay. In July, a Matinicus lobsterman was shot in the neck in an altercation on the island, and in August, three lobster boats were vandalized and two of them sunk in Owls Head harbor.

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