STATEWIDE — Believe it or not, the 2015 calendar has flipped to page 4. The onset of April means only one thing: report cards for the 2014-2015 spiny lobster season are due by April 30.
The recreational spiny lobster season came to an end March 18. All lobster hunters who spent the past six months diving into the Pacific Ocean or using hoopnets to capture the spiny bugs must inform the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) of their respective activity by the end of the month.
“Cardholders should review their cards carefully and check that the information recorded is complete and accurate,” a DFW statement said. “Information collected from the cards provides [the state] 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.”
Lobster hunters could have begun submitting report cards online or via snail mail with completed data as of March 20. Online submissions can be made at wildlife.ca.gov/licensing or mailed to DFW, Lobster Report Card, 3883 Ruffin Road, San Diego, Calif., 92123.
Anyone who fails to return their report card by the April 30 deadline will either be charged a $20 nonrefundable fee when issued a new report card season or be allowed to skip the 2015-2016 spiny lobster season entirely and resume hunting in 2016-2017 or later.
“Past lobster report card return rates have been too low to accurately estimate catch for the fishery, but the Automated License Data System has greatly increased DFW’s ability to remind card purchasers of the need to return report cards,” state officials said.