The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is working to identify resources and partners that will help develop a spiny lobster Fisheries Management Plan (FMP). DFG is considering the California spiny lobster because it is a key species that supports important recreational and commercial fisheries in the Southern California marine ecosystem.

An FMP for lobster also provides an opportunity to integrate any new marine protected areas on the south coast, implemented under the Marine Life Protection Act, with the management of the species. The plan would eventually be considered by the California Fish and Game Commission.

The state’s current budget crisis presents both a challenge and an opportunity in moving forward with the preparation of an FMP. DFG does not have the resources to prepare an FMP and carry out the necessary meetings for constituents to contribute to the plan. Because it is uncertain if and when the budget situation will improve, DFG will be trying a new partnership-based approach. DFG is seeking outside funding as well as qualified partners to provide physical help and logistical support. This concept of an exploratory phase has not been used by the department for previous FMPs. If sufficient outside help is not obtained, DFG will not proceed with developing the FMP.

If you or your organization can assist DFG, or you have any suggestions or concerns regarding this approach, please contact the department’s lobster FMP lead for this exploratory phase: Kristine Barsky, Senior Biologist
 2419 Harbor Blvd., #149, Ventura, CA 93001
. or (805) 985-3114

At the conclusion of the exploratory phase early next year, DFG will announce its decision on whether or not to proceed with developing a spiny lobster FMP.