Implementation of spiny lobster management plan delayed

California’s recreational spiny lobster season is officially underway. A fishery management plan (FMP) was supposed to be implemented in time to coincide with the current season after the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) approved regulations in April.

Implementation of the California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan, however, will be delayed after the state’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL) review of the FMP revealed questions to be answered by DFW staff.

“OAL identified questions that require addressing before approval. The rulemaking package was withdrawn and will be resubmitted once staff has addressed OAL’s concerns,” DFW staff stated in a report to the Fish and Game Commission in October. “A 15-day notice will be sufficient as no substantive changes to the package are necessary.”

The FMP, if all goes as planned, would be implemented after the current spiny lobster season is over.

“To avoid public confusion and enforcement challenges (since the recreational and commercial fisheries are already open), a new effective date of Apr. 1, 2017 will be requested so that the changes will not go into effect until the close of the 2016-17 seasons,” DFW staff stated.

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