Maui Business

Lobster and Kona Crab Season Closes May 1

April 9, 2012, 7:23 PM HST
* Updated April 10, 3:45 PM
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The closed season in Hawaii for Ula (Spiny lobster), Ula papapa (Slipper lobster), and Kona crab is May through August. Courtesy Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources.

By Sonia Isotov

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has issued a reminder to the public that the season for taking ula and ula papapa (spiny and slipper lobsters) and Kona crabs in state waters will be closed starting on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

The closed season extends through the end of August.

Hawai’i Administrative Rules prohibit the taking, killing, offering for sale or possession of any ula, also known as “spiny lobster” (Panulirus penicillatus, P. marginatus) and ula papapa or “slipper lobster” (Scyllarides squammosus, S. haanii) from state waters during the closed season.

It is also illegal to take, possess, or sell Kona crab May through August.


“These rules are in place to protect lobsters and Kona crabs during the summer months, which are the peak of their reproductive season, and to help ensure their populations will continue to be sustainable,” said William J. Aila Jr., DLNR chairperson in a written statement.


However, any commercial marine dealer may sell – and any hotel, restaurant, or other public eating house may serve – spiny or slipper lobster that is lawfully caught during the open season by first procuring a license to do so, according to section 13-74-41 of the Hawai’i Administrative Rules.

During the open season, catching, taking or possessing of female spiny and slipper lobsters and female Kona crab is prohibited as a result of the passage of Act 77 by the 2006 state Legislature.

Also during the open season, any spiny or slipper lobster, or Kona crab caught with eggs must immediately be returned to the waters from which it was taken. Taking or killing of the female crustaceans is prohibited year round.


The Hawai‘i Fishing Regulations booklet, available at all Division of Aquatic Resources offices and most fishing supply stores, shows how to determine the sex of spiny lobsters and Kona crabs. Visit the online version here.

For more information on regulations concerning these and other marine invertebrates, including minimum sizes, visit online or call the Division of Aquatic Resources.

To report any violation of these or other fishing regulations call the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR.

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