Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Calls for More Precautions as Lobster Diving Increases

From the San Diego News Room:

It’s not easy to catch a lobster.

Geared up in scuba equipment, one must dive to the depths of the ocean, often more than 60 feet, in the dark. These crustaceans come out at night when predators can’t see them. Experienced lobster hunters say swimming far and fast, covering a lot of territory, is key to nabbing one with a swipe of the hand before it can scurry away. One must be quick (it only takes a tenth of a second for the critters to notice the presence of a human), but also careful — sometimes lobsters hide in holes with sea urchin, and a wild grab can land a diver in the hospital. Sharp spines on a lobster’s whipping tail can draw blood.

Some do it for the thrill, and others for the tasty meal. Either way, La Jolla is one of the most frequented destinations in San Diego during lobster hunting season, which opened last month, bringing a slew of aficionados to its waters. San Diego Lifeguard Lt. John Everhart said the sport seems to be gaining popularity, but with that increase in popularity comes more people confronting the dangers associated with lobster diving. Since opening night, which fell on Oct. 2 this year, there has been one death and several rescues of lobster divers.

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Also, be sure to note the California hunting rules at the bottom of the article.

Lobster hunting rules from the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG)

• Recreational divers may only use their bare or gloved hands to take lobsters, and their bag limit is seven per day.

• Trophy-size lobsters are becoming scarce, so fishing is prohibited in reserve areas.

• A Spiny Lobster Report Card, which costs $7.50, must be filled out immediately after fishing.

• For divers, report cards must be kept within 500 yards of the point of entry.

• Fishers over 16 must have a fishing license and an ocean enhancement stamp.

• Hunters must carry a device to measure the carapace (portion from the eyes to the tail). If less than three inches, it must be returned to sea.

• The lobster must be measured and bagged before being taken out of the water.

Safe hunting!

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