If I read this right...

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Posted by seahunt on January 29, 2016 at 16:15:15:

In Reply to: Draft Negative Declaration available for the CA Lobster FMP posted by Wildelife Lobster FMP on January 29, 2016 at 13:24:34:

This thing is long, long, long... 127 pages long of details. Quite thorough actually.
It covers everything and every possibility, but I think I put the important part here.
If you look at the long paper and see I missed something important, please add it.

If I got this right they are really proposing three main things.

On page 30, it says:
1. Setting the trap limit to 300 traps per permit with the ability to
purchase a second permit for a maximum 600 traps. (This is not a radical
change and seems fairly practical. It seems they think there is just a little
too much fishing pressure due to increased commercial efficiency.)
2. Changing recreational season opener from 12:01 am to 6:00 a.m. (I think
the F&G folks don't want to be up late)
3. Potentially requiring hole punching or fin clipping of retained
lobsters in the sport fishery. (I have no idea if this is a problem. Really,
I've seen a few, but very few sport fishers that catch enough to sell many.)

An interesting note is that this is what they consider their main fishery Control Toolbox
1. change commercial trap limit
2. change recreational bag limit
3. establish total allowable catch
4. implement district closures
5. change season length
6. change minimum legal size
7. establish maximum legal size
8. implement sex selective fishery (i.e., male only fishery or female
specific size restriction)

It really doesn't seem like they are interested in changing much, because the fishery
seems healthy and stable since about 1970 when cages had to have escape hatches for
shorts. They do seem to want to reduce take just a little bit.

Page 16 discusses Recreational take:
The commercial California spiny lobster fishery can be characterized by several distinct
periods. Commercial landings peaked at an all time high of 485 metric tons (mt) (1.07 million
pounds) during the 1949-1950 fishing season, and declined to a record low of 69 mt (152,000 p
ounds) during the 1974-1975 fishing season. The reason for this decline was thought to have
been the illegal take of sublegal size adults, and was corrected by the introduction of a
requirement for escape ports in lobster traps in 1976, which allowed sublegal size individuals
to exit the traps (Barsky 2001). After 1976, the harvest slowly increased until the 2000-2001
fishing season, when 319 mt (702,000 pounds) were landed. Since 2000, landings have fluctuated
within a relatively narrow range, exceeding 300mt (661,000 pounds) each season. The commercial
fishery is a limited entry fishery, and the number of active participants has remained relatively
consistent between 145 to 160 participants since 2000. However, over time, the number of permits
would be reduced to 148 through attrition and the non-transferable limitation on certain permits.

To catch California spiny lobsters, commercial fishermen use wire box traps deployed from boats.
Traps are the only legal method of take in the commercial fishery. Properly placed and serviced
traps do not generally disturb the marine environment (Eno et al. 2001). Traps are usually deployed
at a depth of less than 31 meters (100 feet), but some are deployed as deep as 93 meters (300 feet).
Currently, commercial fishermen generally operate between 75 and 1,000 traps each season, with a
median of 300 traps. California law requires fishermen to service (i.e., pull and clean) each
deployed trap at least once every 96 hours, weather conditions permitting (FGC Section 9004).

Commercial landings tend to be distributed evenly between San Diego County, Los Angeles/Orange
Counties, and Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties; however, fishing effort is not equally distributed.
In general, 80 percent of a seasonís catch is landed within the first half of the commercial
season by mid-January. Commercial fishing effort (i.e., number of trap pulls) has been increasing
in recent years despite an overall decrease in the number of active fishermen since the late 1990s.
High effort in the commercial fishery may present challenges to sustainability, because it results
in a high harvest rate.

Page 16 discusses Recreational take:
CDFW has not been able to accurately quantify the sport recreational fishery catch until
recent years, when the recreational lobster report card was first put into use in the
fall of 2008 season
However, because of low return rates, the report cards have not produced reliable results
until the most recent season. Statistical comparison between hoop netters and divers has
been particularly problematic. For example, in 2009, only 50.9 percent of all report cards
returned were from hoop netters, even though both the CDFW lobster creel survey and the
recreational industry representatives indicated that a large majority of the recreational
sector fishermen used hoop nets at that time
Lobster report card data from the 2014-2015 fishing season lobster report cards season
produced recreational catch estimates of 155.4 mt (342,583 pounds), or about 26 percent
of the total catch (i.e., recreational plus commercial catches).

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