New Restrictions for Upcoming Lobster Season
In a week, the annual lobster season will begin (September 1) triggering a stampede to catch these crustaceans. This season, fisherman should be aware of a new law which adds restrictions to taking lobster.
On May 6, 2006 Governor Linda Lingle signed into law a bill introduced by Senator Clayton Hee which prohibits the taking or killing of female spiny lobster (to also include female Samoan crab and Kona crab). Therefore, upon the opening of the lobster season on Saturday, September 1, 2007 Molokai fishermen are required to release all wahine lobsters caught in their nets. For better or worse possession of any female lobster whether dead or alive is now a violation, and hereafter anyone possessing female lobsters will be prosecuted by Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).
There are two easy ways to distinguish between male and female lobsters. The easiest way is to examine the tips of the fifth pair of walking legs. The fifth pair of walking legs are those closet to the tail. The tips of the male lobster’s fifth walking legs are pointed. The tips of the female lobster’s fifth walking legs are split to form a claw or pincher.
Another way to distinguish between wahine and kane lobsters is to examine the “swimmerets” under the tail section. Female swimmerets are much larger than those found on male lobsters. Additionally, there is a chance that eggs may be attached under the female lobster’s swimmerets. Please see the illustrations below:
Male (top): swimmerets on underside of “tail” (abdomen) each have a single leaf-like segment; end of fifth (last) pair of walking legs similar to other walking legs and not
Female (bottom): swimmerets each have two branches – in first set both are leaf-like branches, all others have one leaf-like and one rod-like branches; swimmerets usually larger than on males; end of fifth pair of walking legs claw-shaped (pincher like).
TAKING OF FEMALES PROHIBITED.