Spiny Lobster Report Cards Due by April 30, 2019

California spiny lobster
illustration by J. Hofmeister

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2018-2019 Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to submit their harvest report online or return their cards by April 30, 2019, as required by law. Information collected from the cards provides 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.

CDFW is making a focused effort to improve estimates of recreational lobster 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 Note: Any 2018-2019 Spiny Lobster Report Card holder who fails to submit online or return their card(s) by April 30, 2019 will be charged a non-return fee of $21.60 upon purchase of a 2019-2020 Spiny Lobster Report Card. Otherwise, they may choose to skip the 2019-2020 fishing season to be able to purchase a spiny lobster report card a 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

report card tips
Click to enlarge. CDFW graphic by J. Hofmeister

Spiny Lobster Report Card Data for 2017-2018
For the 2017-2018 recreational lobster season, over 32,000 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 85,600 fishing trips for lobster, with an average of 2.0 lobsters kept per trip. The average catch per trip of approximately two lobsters has remained stable since 2008.

The recreational fishery retained an estimated 171,821 lobsters during the 2017-2018 lobster fishing season, with an estimated total weight of approximately 274,914 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 31 percent of the total weight of lobsters landed by the commercial and recreational fisheries combined for the 2017-2018 lobster fishing season.

Summaries of lobster report card data from 2008 to the present are available online. For additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about this program, please visit CDFW’s California Spiny Lobster web page.

post by Jenny Hofmeister, CDFW Environmental Scientist