Lobster Season Comes to California

Andrew Carpenter, Reporter

For anyone who lives in California and is a water person or fisherman, October 3 is a very important day: the opening of lobster season. Many people, including myself, think of lobster season as “a combination of Christmas morning and Easter egg Hunting.” 

There are many ways one can catch a lobster. For example, you could dive for them. Diving for lobsters can normally happen either during the day or during the night, but night diving is most common because lobsters are nocturnal and come out of their holes at night. 

To do this, you would need to find a rocky part of the ocean and dive down with a light. You could dive from a boat or swim out from the shore. Once you find the lobster that you want to keep, you grab it and hold on tight – just make sure you are wearing gloves! 

The next step would be to pull out your lobster gauge and measure the carapace, or the head and body of the lobster minus the tail. The lobster gauge is a small metal measuring tool that is ‘U’ shaped and 3 ¼ inches apart. You place this tool over the carapace, and if the lobster fits then you have a short lobster. If the lobsters carapace does not fit in the tool then you have a legal size lobster and you can keep it. 

When you picture a lobster in your head, the first thing that comes to your mind would be the pincers. However, in California none of our lobsters have pincers. Instead we have a special species of lobster called the California Spiny lobster that closely resembles ones you would see in the Bahamas or Florida. Unless you know someone who harvests their own lobsters or you harvest your own lobsters, you will probably never try a pacific lobster. This is mainly due to the fact that the price for them is so high. There is not enough of a market to support a commercial supply for California Spiny lobsters in the United states because people would not be willing to pay over 30 dollars a pound. 

For comparison, a Maine lobster can usually be sold for about half that. The few California Spiny lobsters that are commercially fished are usually shipped live and directly to China. This is because there is a large demand for live seafood, and California Spiny lobsters are considered the most desirable because of their sweet and firm meat. 

If you want to try a California Spiny lobster for yourself, you expect to pay some serious cash or go catch them yourself.