SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — Officers with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) issues 106 citations and gave 165 warnings during the first weekend of this year’s spiny lobster season.
The 2018-2019 season began on Sept. 29; officers reportedly engaged with 2,088 lobster divers and hunters between then and Oct. 5.
Citations were given for several offenses, such as taking too many lobster (or other fish), catching undersized crustaceans, unlawful take in a Marine Protected Area (MPA), report card violations, illegal commercial passenger vessel operation and a DUI.
DFW staff reported at least two notable cases – one out of San Diego and the other in Orange County.
“Wildlife officers on boat patrol [near San Diego] pulled up on a vessel with two persons on board. Upon approach, the men started throwing lobsters overboard. The officers quickly boarded the vessel and located 26 lobsters hidden throughout,” DFW staff stated in a report. “The men were cited for an overlimit of lobster and report card violations.”
Two wildlife officers in Orange County cited someone for taking 27 lobsters on the night prior to the season opener, making it an out-of-season haul.
There were also positive reports of lobster divers showing off their legal catches and posing with wildlife officers.
“In Dana Point Harbor in Orange County, Warden Andreas Gilbert contacted a group of four lobster free divers (a free diver is a diver who holds their breath, dives to the bottom for lobster, sometimes in the dark with a flashlight in one hand, and grabs the lobster with the other). The four were in possession of several legal lobsters and were extremely cooperative with Gilbert. After the contact, they asked to pose for a photo with Gilbert, who happily obliged,” DFW staff said in a published statement.
Visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/lobster for more information about the current spiny lobster season, which is active now through March 20, 2019. The 2019-2020 spiny lobster season begins on Sept. 28, 2019.