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Info On Lobster Citations And Harvesting Sea Urchins
California Outdoors

Cost For Short Lobster Citation?

Question: I was lobster fishing recently and didn’t realize until I was pulling up my hoop nets that I’d left my measuring gauge in the car by mistake. I was sure that the lobster I caught was of legal size, but when the game warden measured it, it was short. I am worried how much this is going to cost me. Can you please give me an idea so that I can prepare for it? (James P., Huntington Beach)

Answer: We are not able to speculate on the total amount as courts set their own fees on top of base fines and those amounts can differ from court to court. Until you receive notification from the court, here’s what you can do. First, find your citation number (which begins with two letters). It should appear in the upper right corner and the bottom left corner of your citation. Then, in the bottom left-hand corner of the citation, look for the phone number of the court where your citation will be filed. Call that number and give them your citation number. They may be able to look up your case and give you the correct fine amount that you can expect to pay.

Please allow at least two to four weeks from the time you received your citation for the ticket to be filed and for it to show up in their system.


Sea urchin harvest

Question: With the abalone harvest being closed, we are planning on harvesting urchin during this year’s trip to the coast. Is it legal to be in the water with an abalone iron while harvesting urchin? And is it legal to clean the urchin at the shoreline and only bring the uni or gonads back to the residence for consumption? While we are not able to harvest abalone, we will be happy to harvest urchin to help the abs recover. (Mark C., Chico)

Answer: You are allowed to enter the water with an abalone iron as long as you do not use it to harvest or attempt to harvest abalone. To clean your urchins, you will need to either take them to a designated fish cleaning station or do it at home. Game wardens need to be able to count and identify the species of whatever you have harvested.


Hunting partner laws?

Question: Is it legal to bring along a friend or family member on a hunting trip if they do not have a license or tag? I have found nothing in the regs book. Also, when hunting with an archery-only tag in the general season, is it legal to be hunting with someone who carries a general rifle tag and rifle? (Chris Gaylor)

Answer: No problem bringing an unlicensed friend or family member with you on your hunt, as long as they do not attempt to take wildlife. In fact, a great way to introduce persons who are interested in hunting, or even just the outdoors, is to take them hunting with you. They may gain from the experience of accompanying you on your hunt and it may spark an interest in hunting. If you are successful in your hunt, consider sharing the meal with them.

It is legal to be hunting with someone who carries a rifle and a general rifle deer tag while you are hunting with an archery-only tag. Just be sure that if you take a deer, it’s done with archery equipment only.


Open carry of a firearm?

Question: Is it legal for me to carry a holstered pistol for protection while hiking in our local wilderness areas? This could help to protect my family from any threat of dangerous wildlife – either to scare it away or to defend ourselves, if needed. (Alex P.)

Answer: Neither the Fish and Game Code nor Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations regulate non-hunting related firearm possession. We recommend that you consult the Department of Justice’s Firearms Laws Summary to help determine when and where you may possess loaded firearms of any sort. You must also be aware whether any local rules or ordinances prohibit firearm possession whether it be in a park, unincorporated portion of a county, or some other seemingly wild place. Cities, counties, park districts and other governmental entities may have the authority to prohibit possession of firearms in those places within their jurisdiction. While we understand your safety concerns, understand that attacks from wild animals are extremely uncommon and will hopefully not be the reason you would avoid recreating in nature.


California Outdoors is a column published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to answer your questions about California’s many fish and wildlife species, hunting and fishing methods, regulations and opportunities and natural resource conservation. If you have a question you would like to see answered in the California Outdoors Q and A column, email it to