Help CDFW Manage the Recreational Spiny Lobster Fishery – Return Report Cards On Time

California spiny lobster
CDFW photo by D. Stein

Divers and hoopnetters are reminded that the deadline for returning 2017-2018 Spiny Lobster Report Cards is approaching. Report card holders must submit report card information online or return their cards to the address printed on the card by April 30, 2018. Information collected from the cards provides the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s spiny lobster fishery. CDFW generates estimates of recreational spiny lobster catch and effort based on data collected from lobster report cards each season.

For the 2016-2017 lobster season, over 30,000 lobster report cards were sold, of which approximately 50 percent were either reported online or mailed to the San Diego office. Based on data collected from returned report cards, and extrapolations for report cards that were not returned, CDFW estimates that recreational lobster fishers made a total of 80,680 fishing trips for lobster during the 2016-2017 season, with an average of 2.1 lobsters kept per trip. The average catch per trip of approximately two lobsters has remained stable since 2008.

The recreational fishery retained an estimated 169,428 lobsters during the 2016-2017 lobster fishing season, with an estimated total weight of approximately 271,085 pounds. The weight calculation is based on the 1.6-pound lobster median weight observed in a 2007 CDFW lobster creel survey. The estimated recreational catch accounts for approximately 29 percent of the total weight of lobsters landed by the commercial and recreational fisheries combined for the 2016-2017 lobster fishing season.

Summaries of lobster report card data from 2008 to the present are available online.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is making a focused effort to improve estimates of recreational lobster fishing effort and catch by taking action to increase the number of report cards returned each year. It is extremely important for all Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to submit their completed cards on time, even if no lobsters were taken or no attempts were made to take lobsters. Card holders should review their report cards carefully and check that the information recorded is complete and accurate.

Please Remember that Submitting Your Report Cards is Mandatory: Any 2017-2018 Spiny Lobster Report Card holder who fails to submit online or return their card(s) by April 30, 2018 will be charged a non-return fee of $21.60 upon purchase of a 2018-2019 Spiny Lobster Report Card. Otherwise, they may choose to skip the 2018-2019 fishing season to be able to purchase a spiny lobster report card the following season at no extra cost. If multiple spiny lobster report cards were purchased, please report all cards, including lost cards, to avoid the non-return fee when purchasing a spiny lobster report card next lobster fishing season.

Spiny Lobster Report Card data can be submitted online or mailed to:

CDFW – Lobster Report Card
3883 Ruffin Rd.
San Diego, CA 92123

post by Marina Som, CDFW Environmental Scientist