Update by Heal the Ocean
March 13, 2023
Correcting Our Lobster Mistake
To Our Heal the Ocean Supporters:
This notice is an important correction – and apology – to our HTO members, and to Santa Barbara’s commercial lobster fleet for errors made in our Thursday 3/9 E-Letter “Bad Rap for Lobster Traps.”
Due to the numerous traps that landed on our beaches in the last severe storm, HTO had suggested that lobster fishermen pull their traps when anticipating impending storms. Additionally, we proposed the development of a protocol in collaboration with the Department of Fish and Wildlife for managing such storm situations.
Our verbiage raised considerable ire amongst the lobster fleet, and for good reason. Pulling lobster traps takes weeks. Our suggestion was one of impossibility. As for suggesting protocol, the lobster fishermen already engage in constructive discussions with state agencies. Thus, it is not necessary to impose additional protocols on their operations.
This offending language originated from a conglomeration of information received by the HTO office via phone, email, and other sources. As HTO’s Executive Director, I take full responsibility for this error.
Heal the Ocean supports a healthy commercial fishing fleet. In such situations we are here to help, whether it be to assist fishermen in getting traps off the beach, we will continue to help in this way.
We apologize to the fishermen, and to our readers. Please contact us at email@example.com with any comments or questions, and I will personally get back to you
By Heal the Ocean
March 9, 2023
The winter storms have tossed ashore numerous lobster traps, which have become entangled in rocks, buried in sand, and have created serious environmental consequences for marine life, such as the release of harmful microplastics. Additionally, these traps pose a safety hazard for beachgoers, who may accidentally step on the rusted metal.
This past weekend HTO Program Director Harry Rabin and Andrew Velikanje of Earthcomb went to work cleaning up derelict lobster traps along the Santa Barbara coast. The team was able to recover approximately 86 lobster traps from Hope Ranch Beach alone.
Lobster traps are a valuable – and necessary – part of lobster fishing. Heal the Ocean is working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to address this problem, first by creating a protocol that would require fishermen to pull their traps before impending storms. This proactive approach helps to prevent the loss of gear, minimize environmental harm, and protect the safety of our community.
In clearing the beaches (particularly Hope Ranch) HTO brought in a MarBorg roll-off to transport the identifiable traps to a place where fisherman/women were able to reclaim their gear, which helps with financial loss as well as reduce the number of traps winding up in the Tajiguas landfill.
GPS Data showing areas where the cleanup took place (Photo/graphic by Harry Rabin)
Attached Ropes on Traps Entangle Marine Life/Earthcomb Worker Next to Collected Traps