A $15,000 reward is being offered for information that will assist the Maine Marine Patrol in its investigation of lobster trap cutting incidents in Hancock County.

“This has been going on since early summer, but in recent weeks, we have received numerous reports of traps being cut along the B/C line, and the possibility of these incidents continuing to escalate has prompted me to approve additional Marine Patrol assets, including overtime and vessels to support investigations into these incidents,” Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said in a Monday news release.

“While these incidents are territorial disputes among a few harvesters, I will take whatever action is necessary to bring a stop to these violations, including closing the area associated with these incidents,” said Keliher. “I don’t want to take an action that could potentially penalize law abiding harvesters, but I am committed to preventing this from escalating even further.”

“This trap war is without a doubt the most costly loss of gear I have witnessed in my 32-year career with the Maine Marine Patrol,” Colonel Jon Cornish said in the same release on Monday. “In this instance, gear loss is estimated to far exceed $350,000. Trap molesting is a serious offence with the potential for multiple-year license suspensions."

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-253-7887, or report the tip through the OGT website.