If you love your fresh-caught local lobster or Kona crab, you’d best catch it quick because the season closes this Sunday. The closed season for ula (spiny lobster), ula papapa (slipper lobster) and Kona crab runs from May 1 through the end of August. During that time it’s illegal to take, possess, or sell these shellfish.
According to Suzanne Case, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, “These rules are in place to protect lobsters and Kona crabs during the summer months, which are the peak of their reproductive season, and to help ensure their populations will continue to be sustainable.”
However, any commercial marine dealer may sell, or any hotel, restaurant, or other public eating house may serve spiny or slipper lobster lawfully caught during the open season by first obtaining a license to do so pursuant to section 13-74-41, Hawaii Administrative Rules.
During the open season catching, taking or possessing of female spiny and slipper lobsters and female Kona crab is prohibited. Also, any spiny or slipper lobster, or Kona crab, caught with eggs must immediately be returned to the waters from which it was taken. Taking or killing of females is prohibited year round.
The Hawai‘i Fishing Regulations booklet, available at all Division of Aquatic Resources offices and most fishing supply stores, shows how to determine the sex of spiny lobsters and Kona crabs. Or go online to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/how-to-determine-sex-of-regulated-invertebrates/
For more information on regulations concerning these and other marine invertebrates, including minimum sizes, go to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/ or call the Division of Aquatic Resources.
To report any violation of these or other fishing regulations call the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR.