DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
LAURA H. THIELEN, CHAIRPERSON
Phone: (808) 587-0401
Fax: (808) 587-0390
For Immediate Release:
DLNR Issues Reminder About Lobster, Crab Rules
HONOLULU -- The open fishing season for lobster and Kona crab began on Sept. 1, 2007 and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is reminding fishers about new laws now in effect that prohibit the take of female lobsters and certain female crabs, as well as how to distinguish male from female lobsters.
DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) are also responding to questions about whether fishers can use lobster nets.
Taking of all female spiny lobsters, female Kona crabs and female Samoan crabs is now prohibited as a result of the passage of Act 77 by the 2006 Legislature.
Other current rules also apply to spiny lobsters: they must be a minimum of 3-1/4 inches in carapace (head shell) length, spearing of spiny lobsters is prohibited, and lobsters must be possessed whole (head, tail, and swimmerets attached).
September 1 also marked the beginning of open fishing season for Kona crab and slipper lobster. Kona crabs must be at least 4 inches in carapace width; slipper lobsters must be at least 2-3/4 inches in tail width. As with spiny lobsters, the spearing of Kona crab and slipper lobsters is prohibited. There currently is no requirement to release female slipper lobsters.
As to the use of lobster nets, the DLNR considers lay nets and lobster nets to represent different and distinct net gear types. Specifically, a lobster net has a larger mesh size (4-7 inches), is made of stout multifilament colored cordage (usually bright orange or red) rather than monofilament or other slender line, and usually characterized by having only a 2-3 foot net face or panel, as compared to a 6-7 foot vertical net face or panel for a typical lay net.
Lobster nets will not be subject to rules pertaining to lay nets, and as such, will not need to meet lay net rule requirements if used in the manner for which they were intended.
When using lobster nets as well as using any gill net gear, fishers should actively attend the net, monitor what is being caught, and immediately release any unwanted catch or species that do not meet current requirements (undersized, out of season, beyond the legal bag limit), or any threatened and endangered species.
The Hawai‘i Fishing Regulations booklet, available at all Division of Aquatic Resources offices, various fishing supply outlets and online at www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar shows how to determine the sex of spiny lobsters, Kona and Samoan crabs.
For more information on regulated fish, shellfish and gear types, contact the Division of Aquatic Resources or the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement offices as follows:
O‘ahu - DAR 587-0100, DOCARE 587-0077 or 643-DLNR.
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