Tag Archives: Lobster

Recreational Spiny Lobster Season to Open Oct. 3

Thousands of lobster fishermen are eagerly awaiting the start of the sport season for California’s spiny lobster, which opens Saturday, Oct. 3 and continues through March 16, 2016.

There is currently a strong El Niño event occurring in the eastern Pacific, with above-average water temperatures expected to continue into the months ahead in Southern California.

“Lobster catches have historically been considerable during El Niño events, so it’s looking to be a plentiful season,” said Travis Buck, a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

The California spiny lobster is common from Point Conception, California to Magdalena Bay on the west coast of Baja California, Mexico. A typical legal-size lobster will average over one pound in weight. Recreational divers and hoop netters will occasionally find lobsters over five pounds (considered trophy size) in California waters.

Regulations governing the sport take of spiny lobster have helped to preserve the tradition of lobster diving and hoop netting in Southern California. The 2015-16 spiny lobster season regulations include:

  • All persons age 16 or older who are taking or attempting to take lobster must possess a valid sport fishing license, ocean enhancement stamp and a lobster report card in order to take lobster south of Point Arguello. Children who are under 16 and fishing for lobster do not need a license, but must possess a lobster report card.
  • The daily bag and possession limit is seven lobsters.
  • Spiny lobster taken must measure at least 3 1/4 inches in length, and are measured in a straight line on the mid-line of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell (carapace).
  • Any lobster may be brought to the surface for the purpose of measuring, but undersized lobsters may not be held in a game bag or brought aboard a boat and must be immediately released.
  • Harvesters may use hoop nets or bare (gloved) hands when skin or scuba diving for lobster. No appliance (such as fish spears or poles) may be used to assist.
  • No more than five hoop nets may be possessed by a person when taking spiny lobster or crab (or two hoop nets on piers, jetties and other shore-based structures). No more than 10 hoop nets may be possessed aboard a vessel, regardless of how many fishermen or persons are onboard.

Spiny lobster are nocturnal scavengers that feed on fishes, sea urchins and a variety of other marine life. During the day, they shelter in caves and crevices. Rocky reefs and other hard-bottom substrates are their preferred habitat, but they may also favor manmade habitats such as jetties, piers, breakwaters and artificial reefs. Surfgrass and eelgrass beds can also be productive lobster hunting grounds. At night, when they are out foraging, lobsters can sometimes be found on exposed sand or mud bottoms.

For hoopnetters, CDFW marine biologists suggest using an oily or aromatic bait to dispense a scent trail that nearby lobsters will follow back to the net. Squid, Pacific mackerel, bonito, anchovies and sardines may serve as good bait. A wire mesh bait container will help prevent the loss of bait to fish or other large predators such as seals and sea lions.

Because lobsters are strong and have hair-trigger responses when they sense predators, the best strategy for divers is usually to pin the lobster to the bottom instead of grabbing legs or antennae which could be ripped off, particularly since the lobster will have to be released if it undersized. Although lobsters can regenerate lost limbs, research has found that these lobsters ultimately produce fewer offspring because of the energy requirements for limb regeneration.

Prior to beginning fishing activity, the date, location and gear code must be recorded on the lobster report card. When finished fishing or changing locations or gear types, persons taking or attempting to take lobster must immediately record the number of lobster taken from that location, even if no lobster were retained. Lobster report cards must be returned to CDFW by April 30 following the end of the fishing season, regardless of whether the card was used or any lobster were caught. Persons who fill up a report card can turn in their card and purchase another.

Lobster report card data is very important for CDFW’s marine biologists to manage California’s lobster fishery. More than 19,000 report cards were received by the April 30 deadline last year. Pursuant to the California Code of Regulations, a $20 non-return fee will be levied for unreturned report cards or those that are returned after the deadline. Anglers may sit out one lobster season in lieu of paying the fee. CDFW reminds lobster report card holders to report every card — including cards that were lost — to avoid the fee, and also recommends reporting online and saving your confirmation number.

The complete set of spiny lobster regulations are contained in the 2015-16 Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet, found on CDFW’s website and wherever fishing licenses are sold. More information specific to California’s spiny lobster can also be found on the website.

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Media Contacts:
Travis Buck, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 467-4214
Tom Mason, CDFW Marine Region, (562) 342-7107
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Due Date Rapidly Approaching for 2014-2015 Spiny Lobster Report Card

California spiny lobster (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)
California spiny lobster (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)
Media Contacts:
Tom Mason, CDFW Marine Region, (562) 342-7107
Travis Buck, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 467-4214
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2014-2015 Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to return their cards by April 30, 2015, as required by law.

Please Note: Any 2014-2015 Spiny Lobster Report Card holder who fails to return their card by April 30, 2015 will be charged a non-return fee of $20 upon issuance of a Spiny Lobster Report Card in the subsequent fishing season, or they may choose to skip one fishing season to be able to purchase a lobster card the following season at no extra cost.

The Automated License Data System (ALDS) has greatly increased the ability of CDFW to remind card purchasers of the need to return report cards by sending out reminder notices through the mail. A reminder notice was mailed to all cardholders to return their report cards to CDFW or submit their harvest data online. If you receive a reminder notice but have already submitted your card or reported online, CDFW thanks you!

Cardholders should review their cards carefully and check that information recorded is complete and accurate. Information collected from the cards provides CDFW with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s spiny lobster fishery.

The cards need to be returned, even if no lobsters were taken or no attempts were made to take lobsters. Spiny Lobster Report Card data can be submitted online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/harvestreporting. Report cards also can be submitted by mail to:

CDFW – Lobster Report Card
3883 Ruffin Road
San Diego, CA 92123

Additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about this program can be found on CDFW’s Ocean Sport Fishing webpage, http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/lobster.asp.

Anglers Reminded to Submit Steelhead, Sturgeon, Abalone and Salmon Report Card Data in January

Media Contacts:
Glenn Underwood, CDFW License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-5841
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers and divers that they are required by regulation to report or return their 2014 report cards.

Information collected from sport fishing report cards provides CDFW biologists with important data necessary to monitor and manage California’s diverse recreational fisheries, including preparing recommendations for sport fishing seasons and limits that allow for sustainable levels of take. This science-based management helps to ensure healthy populations of fish for future generations.  2014 report cards are due by Jan. 31, 2015 for steelhead, sturgeon, abalone and north coast salmon fisheries. Spiny lobster report cards must be returned or reported by April 30, 2015. Anglers and divers are required to report even if the report card was lost or they did not fish.  Cards should be reviewed carefully for accuracy before submission.

There are two ways to meet the mandatory reporting requirement. Online reporting (www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing#758846-harvest-reporting) is easy, fast and free. Online reporting includes instant confirmation that the report has been received and accepted. Report cards may also be returned by mail to the addresses listed below.

North Coast Salmon Report Cards
CDFW – Klamath River Project
5341 Ericson Way
Arcata, CA 95521-9269

Abalone Report Cards
CDFW – Abalone Report Card
32330 N. Harbor Dr.
Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554

Steelhead Report Cards
CDFW – Steelhead Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Sturgeon Report Cards
CDFW – Sturgeon Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Any person who fails to return or report a salmon, steelhead, sturgeon or abalone report card to the department by the deadline may be restricted from obtaining the same card in a subsequent license year or may be subject to an additional fee for the issuance of the same card in a subsequent license year.

Please note that license sales agents cannot accept report cards. More information about report cards is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing.

Due Date Rapidly Approaching for 2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Card

Media Contacts:
Kai Lampson, CDFW Marine Region Lobster, (805) 965-7216
Travis Buck, CDFW Marine Region Lobster, (858) 467-4214
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to return their cards by April 30, 2014 as required by law. Only 34 percent of the 2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Cards have been reported online or returned to CDFW, to date.

Please Note: 2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Card holders who fail to return their cards by April 30, 2014 will be charged a non-return fee of $20 upon issuance of a Spiny Lobster Report Card in the subsequent fishing season, or they may choose to skip one fishing season to be able to purchase a lobster card the following season at no extra cost.

The Automated License Data System (ALDS) has greatly increased the ability of CDFW to remind card holders of the need to return report cards with the ability to send out reminder notices through the mail. A reminder notice was mailed to all cardholders to return their report cards to CDFW or submit their harvest data online. If you receive a reminder notice and have already submitted your card or reported online, CDFW thanks you!

Cardholders should review their cards carefully and check that the information recorded is complete and accurate. Information collected from the cards provides CDFW with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s spiny lobster fishery.

The cards need to be returned, even if no lobsters were taken or no attempts were made to take lobster. Spiny Lobster Report Card data can be submitted online at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/harvestreporting.  Report cards also can be submitted by mail to:

CDFW – Lobster Report Card
3883 Ruffin Rd.
San Diego, CA 92123

Additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about this program can be found on CDFW’s Ocean Sport Fishing webpage, www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/lobster.asp .

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2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Cards Due by April 30, 2014

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to return their cards by April 30, 2014 as required by law. Cardholders should review their cards carefully and check that the information recorded is complete and accurate. Information collected from the cards provides CDFW with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s spiny lobster fishery.

One orange spiny lobster on a sand and rock seabed
California’s spiny lobster. CDFW photo

Please Note: Any 2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Card holder who fails to return their card by April 30, 2014 will be charged a non-return fee of $20 upon issuance of a Spiny Lobster Report Card in the subsequent fishing season, or they may choose to skip one fishing season to be able to purchase a lobster card the following season at no extra cost.

Past lobster report card return rates have been too low to accurately estimate catch for the fishery but the Automated License Data System (ALDS) has greatly increased CDFW’s ability to remind card purchasers of the need to return report cards. ALDS was used to mail reminder notices to all cardholders last year to return their report cards through the mail or submit their harvest data online. If you receive a reminder notice but have already submitted your card or reported online, CDFW thanks you!

The cards need to be returned even if no lobsters were taken or no attempts were made to take lobsters. Spiny Lobster Report Card data can be submitted online at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/harvestreporting. Report cards also can be submitted by mail to:

CDFW – Lobster Report Card
3883 Ruffin Rd.
San Diego, CA 92123

Additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about this program can be found on CDFW’s Ocean Sport Fishing webpage, w

ww.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/lobster.asp.

Media Contacts:
Kai Lampson, CDFW Marine Region, (805) 965-7216
Travis Buck, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 467-4214
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191