Bedford lobsterman charged as trap thief

A three-month investigation by New Hampshire Fish and Game law enforcement has led to the Nov. 11 arrest of Kyle Basoukas, of Bedford.

The 21-year-old man has been tagged with multiple charges related to possession of stolen lobster gear.

Officers from Fish and Game took possession of 81 lobster traps. There were 49 determined to be stolen property, police said. The stolen traps included some property of a lobsterman who died in July as the result of an accident in the Piscataqua River.

The Bedford man faces a slew of charges. Basoukas was charged with a Class A felony of receiving stolen property, molesting lobster gear and taking lobsters without lobster trap tags, as well as 130 other lobster violations. The violations include use of illegal escape panels, no weak links – a required adaptation that prevents gear from entangling whales – and having only one buoy on trawls containing five or more than five traps. Basoukas will be arraigned on Jan. 13, 2014, in Portsmouth district court.

Basoukas, a licensed part-time commercial lobsterman, was operating between Odiorne State Park in Rye and the region south of Rye Harbor. It was during routine contacts in August that Fish and Game became aware of his alleged possession of stolen lobster gear.

The investigation launched was a time-consuming one, according to Lt. Michael Eastman, head of coastal law enforcement for NH Fish and Game. It was an investigation that entailed tracing the owners of the 49 stolen traps. He added that the penalty for a Class A felony is in excess of seven years in prison and more than a $5,000 fine.

“An enormous amount of time and effort went into this investigation,” Eastman said. “This case shows the importance of proper marking of gear through name tags and lobster tags, information that can help Fish and Game protect the resource that represents the livelihood of the lobstermen of New Hampshire.”