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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 2:46 p.m., Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hawaii lobster, crab season opens — with new restrictions

Advertiser Staff

HONOLULU — At the start of the open fishing season for lobster and Kona crab, the Department of Land and Natural Resources wishes fishers to have a safe and productive fishing experience, and reminds fishers that new laws and rules apply to the open season that began Sept 1.

Specifically, the take of female spiny lobsters and female Kona crab is prohibited as a result of the passage of Act 77, by the 2006 state Legislature. The Hawai'i Fishing Regulations booklet, available at all Division of Aquatic Resources offices, shows how to determine the sex of spiny lobsters and Kona crabs.

For fishermen who use lobster nets, these nets fall under the current definition of lay gill nets and are technically subject to rules that apply to lay net fishing. Nets must be registered with the Department, not exceed maximum length of 125 feet, height of 7 feet, and have a minimum mesh size of not less than 2-3/4 inches.

Nets must also have floats displaying the registration ID number, conform to the maximum soak time, be inspected every two hours, and be attended and fished during daylight hours only.

There are areas closed to lay gill netting Kailua Bay and portions of Kane'ohe Bay on O'ahu, the southeastern O'ahu coastline (Portlock to Pearl Harbor), and all Maui waters.

There are variations in these rules specific for Moloka'i and West Hawai'i. Fishers in these areas are asked to review the rules or consult their local DAR offices for details.

Other current rules that apply include that spiny lobsters must be 3-1/4 inches in carapace (head portion of the lobster's body) length, spearing of spiny lobsters is prohibited, and lobsters must be possessed whole with head and tail attached.

Slipper lobsters must be 2-3/4 inches in tail width and spearing of slipper lobsters is prohibited. There currently is no requirement to release female slipper lobsters.

For details, please consult the Division of Aquatic Resources Web site (www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar) the current Hawaii Fishing Regulations booklet, or call any of DAR's offices.