Lobster Hunting Q&A

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by DFG on September 19, 2008 at 10:08:02:

California Department of Fish and Game

Question: If I am diving with my speargun and hunting for fish but then happen to see a lobster walking along the sand, is it legal for me to grab it? In other words, is it legal for me while out diving for the purpose to spear fish to also take lobsters on the same dive if I happen to encounter them? (Mike P.)

Answer: Lobsters may only be taken by hand or in baited hoop nets. It is illegal to use or possess any hooked devices while diving or attempting to dive for crustaceans. Given this, if your spear has floppers on the tip when folded out, an argument could be made that your spear may be a hooked device. The game warden will have the final determination of this when checking your gear.

Even though you may intend to use your spear only for spearing fish and not as a tool to assist in persuading a shy lobster to come out of the safety of itís cozy cave or crevice, just to be on the safe side, my suggestion is that you should probably do your spearfishing and lobster diving on separate dives.

Question: Iím a little confused regarding gifting fish and whether the person who receives the gift can be cited for being in possession of an overlimit. Letís say some lucky fellow has 10 friends who each gift him one limit of fish. This person doesnít have a fishing license but due to the generosity of his friends, he finds himself now be in possession of 10 limits of fish with some in his freezer. Would he be in violation? If he doesnít hold a fishing license would he even be signatory to the conditions of the regulations? (Robert S.)

Answer: Good question! However, the regulations are clear on possession limits whether the fish are gifted or caught by a licensed individual. The definition for "Bag and Possession Limit" provides that no more than one daily bag limit of each kind of fish, amphibian, reptile, mollusk or crustacean named in these regulations may be taken or possessed by any one person unless otherwise authorized; regardless of whether they are fresh, frozen or otherwise preserved (Title 14, CCR, Section 1.17.) The wording "any one person" includes anyone, licensed or not, and does not necessarily apply to anglers who caught the fish.

Question: My son and I will be fishing the lobster opener together (a family tradition) with hoop nets and then cooking up whatever we catch on the barbecue that night for friends and family. Since my son is just 15 years old I know that he still doesnít need a fishing license, but what about this new lobster report card? Will he need to buy his own report card? Or can he wait until next year when he buys his own fishing license? Or should he list any bugs he catches while with me on my card? Thanks. (Daniel C., Oceanside).

Answer: Both lobster report cards and abalone report cards now require that everyone pursuing either of these invertebrates must now purchase their own report cards. This now even goes for those under 15 years of age who are not required to have a California fishing license. In addition, opening day of lobster season this year (Sept. 27) also falls on the DFGís second free fishing day of the year when people may fish without having to buy a sport fishing license. While no license may be required on this date, everyone who will be pursuing spiny lobsters, sturgeon or abalone must still have or purchase the respective report cards and fill them out as usual when pursuing any of these species.

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