State continues to flesh out Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan

Parimal M. Rohit

MARINA — Winter is officially over, which also means the end of the 2014-15 recreational spiny lobster season. If a certain set of proposals are approved within the next year, recreational lobster hunters will likely have two more seasons to catch the spiny bugs under current rules.

The Fish and Game Commission will spend the remainder of 2015 deliberating the Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which, if adopted, could be implemented by the 2017-2018 season.

Earlier this month, the commission’s Marine Advisory Committee (MAC) reviewed a set of recommendations proposed by the Lobster Advisory Committee (LAC).

In all, there were five issues where LAC representatives achieved consensus and MAC members provided feedback, including requiring lobster tails be clipped to prevent them from being sold commercially, limiting the use of mechanized pullers to disables people, changing the start time of the season opener to 6 a.m. on a Saturday, marking hoop net floats for accountability and safety purposes, and clarifying the definition of a “hooked device” to prevent spear fisherman from being cited or harassed.

“Proposals to prohibit or ‘ban’ the use of conical hoop nets or to establish a seasonal limit were not part of the LAC’s consensus recommendations for the recreational fishery,” MAC staff stated. “[Department of Fish and Wildlife] will not be forwarding these proposals to the commission as part of the LAC recommendations.”

MAC members discussed LAC’s recommendations at a March 4 meeting in Marina, California. 

According to a timeline published by Department of Fish and Wildlife’s staff, the Spiny Lobster FMP will likely be discussed in front of the entire Fish and Game Commission at the board’s next meeting, which is April 8 and 9 in Santa Rosa.

The commission is expected to continue deliberating the FMP through April 2016.

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