Please keep track of the tag numbers, last known CDFW fishing block, suspected reasons for loss, and approximate dates associated with any lost traps, as this information is requested on the trap loss reporting form and if you apply for replacement tags. For each lobster operator permit that you possess, you are required at the end of each season to submit the completed End of Season Spiny Lobster Trap Loss Reporting Affidavit - DFW 1020 (PDF) by April 30 to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 3883 Ruffin Rd., San Diego, CA 92123 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The affidavit will help estimate the number of traps lost during a season, and provides CDFW with needed essential fisheries information to help inform future management decisions. The additional spatial information on trap loss will also be useful for informing gear recovery programs, identifying potential conflicts within the marine environment, and for the issue of marine mammal gear interactions.
The recreational lobster season opener start time has changed from 6:00 a.m. of the Saturday preceding the first Wednesday in October to 6:00 p.m. of the Friday preceding that first Wednesday. However, the commercial lobster season will stay the same.
The updated Daily Lobster Log - DFW 122 (PDF) form looks very similar to the old one, except that each page now accommodates two days of fishing instead of three. The field for “nearest landmark” has been replaced with fields for GPS locations (decimal minutes) for a specific set of traps in addition to CDFW fishing block number. “Number of traps currently deployed in the water” is new information being collected and there is now room for up to four (4) landing receipt numbers on the form.
Branding of commercial trap floats is allowed in addition to paint-based markings, so long as the commercial fishing license number is in a “color which contrasts with that of the buoy.”
When there are circumstances beyond the control of the lobster permit holder that results in the inability to service their traps, CDFW may grant a temporary waiver that allows a lobster permit holder to service trap(s) of another. Fishermen applying for a waiver must submit a request in writing to CDFW’s License and Revenue Branch at LRB@wildlife.ca.gov or by mail to: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, License and Revenue Branch, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244 describing why having another lobster permit holder service your traps and/or receivers is necessary. The waiver must include the following information: names and permit numbers of the lobster permit holder requesting the waiver and the lobster permit holder to be given permission to pull, service, or transport the traps and/or receivers; proposed time period and location to conduct operations; and trap tag number(s) or number of traps and/or receivers to be pulled, serviced or transported. CDFW may request other related information prior to granting or denying the waiver. The waiver may include conditions CDFW deems necessary. The lobster operator permit holder must have a copy of the waiver in possession when pulling, servicing, or transporting the traps and/or receivers, and may retain lobsters caught in the traps or contained in the receivers unless otherwise specified as a condition of the waiver.
In-season, lobster operator permit holders can retrieve up to six lost or derelict traps per fishing trip with a dated note (electronic or written) from the trap owner authorizing their retrieval. The note must contain the commercial fishing license identification of the trap owner. Lobsters within the retrieved traps must be released, and the lobster operator permit holder (retriever) must document the circumstances and details surrounding a retrieval. Any traps retrieved under the authorization of a note cannot be redeployed by the retriever. From 15 days after the close of the season through September 15, an unlimited number of lobster traps may be retrieved by a lobster operator permit holder or a CDFW designee and transported to shore. Lobster traps not retrieved 14 days after the close of the commercial lobster season will be considered abandoned.
Yes, commercial fishermen are allowed to possess up to two lobster operator permits, with no restriction on the type of lobster operator permits in possession. If a transferable lobster permit is transferred to a person already in possession of a valid transferable lobster operator permit and a non-transferable lobster operator permit, the non-transferable permit is rendered null and void. That non-transferable permit and the trap tags associated with it must be immediately surrendered to CDFW’s License and Revenue Branch. Here is the new Lobster Operator Permit Transfer Application - DFW 1702 (PDF).
Yes, the FMP lists possible management measures to be implemented in the future if needed, including adjusting the trap limit. So yes, it is possible that in the future the trap limit could be increased or decreased. However, this is not expected in the near future.
Yes, any receiver impounding lobster must be individually buoyed and marked. Lobster receiver buoys must be clearly and distinctly marked with the lobster operator permit holder’s commercial fishing license identification number. The numbers must be at least 1.5 inches in height and drawn with a line at least 0.25 inch thick in a color that contrast with the buoy.