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The Log • September 12 - 25, 2014 • 49 Boating your way to lobsters


Special lobster charters sched- uled for busy season.


By Parimal M. Rohit


Anglers can access maps that show No Take Zones and Marine Conservation Areas by visiting the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.


Avalon


Lobster season is upon us this month. As September spills into October, lob- ster hunters will surely be crowding local beaches, harbors and piers in search of making a big catch as close to shore as possible. On the other hand, large populations of lobsters are generally found in deeper waters, especially early in the season. With fewer lobster hunters further away from shore, it might be worthwhile to hop on a charter boat and head west into the Pacific Ocean in search of lob- ster just off the California coast. In avoiding the populated shore,


Catalina Island


No Take Zones From page 48


lobster hunting in a marine preserve,” said Jeff Barnicki, a diver who has caught lobster in Southern California. “Half of Palos Verdes and many spots in Catalina are no take zones.” Over at the Palos Verdes Peninsula,


there are two protected areas: Point Vicente State Marine Conservation Area and Abalone Cove State Marine Conservation Area. These adjacent zones essentially


cover most of the southeastern coastal area along the Palos Verdes Peninsula, reaching from the western edge of Point Vicente to the western tip of Portuguese Bend. In this area and other reserves like


it, the No Take Zone severely restricts what you are allowed to take from the waters protected in the state-mandat- ed sections of water. With the exception of certain types of fish, state law prohibits the taking of “all living marine resources” from a No Take Zone, Marine Reserve, or Conservation Area. Examples of what types of fish are


allowed to be captured include pelagic finfish (such as the Pacific bonito), white seabass, and swordfish. Commercial fisheries have a sepa-


rate set of regulations governing what fishermen can take from the protected waters. According to the California


Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are 19 Marine Reserves, 21 Marine Conservation Areas, 10 No Take Zones, and two special closures. The No Take Zones are found in the 10 Marine Conservation Areas where,


according to state law, recreational lobster hunters or other fishers are generally prohibited to take “living, geological, and cultural marine resources.” Also restrictive are the 19 Marine


Reserves, where state law “prohibits damage or take of all marine resources (living, geologic, or cultural) including recreational and commercial take.” Though restrictions may vary, the


two Special Closure areas designated by the Fish and Game Commission specifically prohibits access and restricts boating activities “in waters adjacent to sea bird rookeries or marine mammal haul-out sites.” Finally, the Department of Fish and


Wildlife permits some combination of recreational and commercial take of marine resources at the 21 Marine Conservation Areas, though each divi- sion has its own specific regulations in place. For a complete list of the 27 main- land and 25 island Marine Reserves or Conservation Areas can be found at the Department of Fish and Wildlife website (dfg.ca.gov/marine/mpa/scm- pas_list.asp). Each reserve, conserva- tion area, No Take Zone, and special closure is individually listed. Click on the specific area or zone to find out the specific restrictions attached and the exact coordinates defining the bound- aries of protected water. General rules applying to all


reserves, conservation areas, and zones are also found on the above-ref- erenced webpage, including the regu- lations governing access, feeding of fish and wildlife, anchoring, drifting, water quality monitoring, public safe- ty, tribal take, and shore fishing.


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hiring a charter boat this lobster sea- son might prove fruitful for one inter- esting reason: weather. Lobsters tend to be deeper at sea during storms. In late August and early September, Hurricane Marie and Tropical Storm Norbert have made their respective presences felt along the Southern California and Baja California coasts, meaning it is possible lobsters will be in deeper waters once hunting season begins on Sept. 27. There are plenty of options avail- able for those seeking to get away from


the crowded beaches, harbors and piers or for anyone who just wants to hunt for lobsters in deeper waters. Common suggestions from divers who hunt lobster: travel in a small boat with two to eight divers; look for a small and professional boat; and a rea- sonable budget for a small independ- ent charter would be within $250. One great resource listing a number of diving charters available between now and December is scubadivingla.com. Some charters are already sold out, but many are still available from San Pedro and Ventura harbors to Catalina and the other Channel islands. Peace Dive Boat offers two lobster


trips from Ventura to Talcott Shoal off of Santa Rosa Island (about 30 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara). One trip is offered in November and the other in December; both trips are $145 per person. Visit peaceboat.com for more information. Also heading out of Ventura Harbor


and toward the Channel Islands is Raptor, which offers tank and night dives to Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands. Visit raptordive.com for sched- uling and pricing. Another charter boat available for lobster hunting is the 24-foot Slammer in Redondo Beach. For information


See BOATING YOUR WAY page 50


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