SPRUCE HEAD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A lobsterman has been charged with fishing with 156 lobster traps more than he was allowed, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

During a routine patrol last month, a Marine Patrol Officer inspected 52-year-old Brian Tarbox's traps and found they included tags that belonged to another license holder, Eric Caswell, 25 of Lewiston. That discovery led Marine Patrol to haul all of his traps, where they found he was fishing with 156 traps in excess of his allotted 800.

Also charged as a result of the investigation was Tarbox’s son, Samuel, 23 of Spruce Head. Samuel Tarbox has been charged with with fishing lobster traps that contain tags not registered to his vessel. In addition to the minimum $100 fine, he also faces the possibility of license suspension.

Caswell, who is Tarbox’s stepson, is not facing any charges as a result of the investigation.

Fishing traps in excess of the authorized limit is a civil violation that carries a potential fine of between $100 and $500. Tarbox has also been charged with fishing lobster traps that contain tags not registered to his vessel, also a civil violation with a potential for a minimum $100 fine. Tags, which are affixed to each trap, are marked with information that identifies the harvester licensed to fish the trap.

In addition to the fines, Tarbox faces the possibility of a suspension of his lobster license.

“This is a very serious violation of marine resource laws and I’m extremely proud of the diligent work of the Marine Patrol personnel involved in this case,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “When someone fishes in excess of trap limits, it not only undermines important conservation laws designed to sustain this valuable resource, it gives violators an unfair advantage over law abiding harvesters.”