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California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan

The spiny lobster fishery is one of the oldest fisheries on the West Coast.  The range of the California spiny lobster, Panulirus interruptus, extends from Point Conception, California to Bahia Magdelena, Mexico.  The primary fishing ports for the California fleet are found from Santa Barbara to San Diego.    The development of a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) is intended to provide for the long term sustainability of this species.

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for managing the California spiny lobster in U.S. waters.  The fishery consists of both a commercial and a recreational fishery in Southern California.  The California spiny lobster fishery is identified as one of the highest priority candidates for an FMP due to an unknown population level and the extent of the recreational fishery harvest. The Spiny Lobster level of priority is also based in part on the state’s Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) master plan prioritization of the fishery for FMP development.  While the stock seems healthy, maintaining the lobster population’s sustainability over time is a concern for DFG and the OPC.  Additionally, the California Lobster and Trap Fishermen’s Association has expressed interest in FMP development to maintain the sustainability of the commercial lobster fishery.

The spiny lobster FMP will use a collaborative approach involving state agencies, the commercial and recreational fisheries, scientists, the California Wildlife Foundation (CWF), and members of the public.  The fishery plan builds on a number of key actions the OPC has taken to advance the development of sustainable fisheries and fishing communities in California.  Funding this FMP will implement recommendations from the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) lessons learned project to develop new approaches to inform FMPs.  It will also advance the California Sustainable Seafood Initiative (CSSI) by providing useful population data to help prepare the spiny lobster fishery for possible certification as sustainable.

Related Links
DFG California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan page 

Request for Qualifications
Management Strategy Evaluation (April 27, 2012)

Council Documents/Staff Reports
Staff Recommendation (May 12, 2011)

Photo credit: Craig Shuman

Project Contact
Valerie Termini, OPC Project Manager