Monday, August 4, 2014

Shipwrecked Lobsters Make A Break For Freedom

I've always been a friend of the lifeguards. My brother is a lifeguard, and so are many of my friends. They spend about the same amount of time on the water as I do and I think they're just about the only ones who care as much as I do about tourists being safe, responsible and environmentally conscious beach-goers.
So the other day while I was sampling on the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach I naturally jumped up when I saw a lifeguard struggling down the pier with two large buckets of water. 

"Need a hand?" I said as I walked over to peer into his bucket. Inside each were three very large and very illegally caught lobsters. 

"Yeah, I'm going to free these little buggers at the end of the pier, thanks!" And he handed over a bucket. 

Turns out the lobsters washed ashore in a trap that had either been tossed overboard, cut loose or lost by some illegal poachers. There was another few buckets on the way with a couple more lobsters and one blue crab. Lobster season ended sometime in March this year and wont open again until next season which is  September 27, 2014 through Wednesday March 18, 2015. California Spiny Lobster has a very regulated season, which can be confusing but thats not an excuse to be deploying traps in JULY! So these poor little guys had been sitting in an abandoned shipwrecked net for who knows how long, when thankfully the lifeguards spotted it, cut them out and set about freeing them! 

Lobsters are an important species to know about the size and season regulations because, well firstly they're delicious and if we all just took them whenever we wouldn't have any left! But also because their ability to reproduce increases exponentially as their size increases, so a lobster that is twice as long may be able to produce ten times or even 100 times as many offspring (Think of that lobster potential, all that buttery, juicy lobster potential)! That's also why returning trophy sized lobsters is one of the best things you can do for the species as a whole, and truthfully the big ones are tough and dont taste as good as the medium sized ones anyways. 

 Careful to avoid their powerful tails, (which could cut your fingers to the bone if they contracted their tail while you were in the way!) we took the bugs out to the the end of the pier and threw them over the side. Each one hit the water in a perfect cannonball, then unfurlled their tail and swam down into the blue, happy to be free at last! A good day for some creepy, crawly sea bugs and a good chance to see some cool things in the field! Thanks to the Newport City Lifeguards for taking the initiative! 

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