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Hunting for Ula

The changing seasons at the end of summer, are not only about the swells that slowly start to greet our north-facing shores. Another activity we resume this time of year is hunting for ula (spiny lobster).

ula in the ocean

Be Prepared

Spiny lobsters can only be fished from September through April, and more than the joy of bringing a delicious meal to the dinner table, the thrill of this activity is the hunt, whether you go home with dinner or not. Lobster diving is a night-time pastime. Among local recreational divers, the long wait for the start of the season means hitting the known dive holes on the first night of the open season. For this activity, you will want to be equipped with dive lights, gloves, wetsuit, snorkel, mask, fins, and a lobster bag.

A Green Spiny Lobster sits in the coral off the coast of Lanai Hawaii

Spiny lobsters, also known as langustas, langouste, or rock lobsters, are a family (Palinuridae) of about 60 species of achelate crustaceans, in the Decapoda Reptantia

The sensation of being in the black of the water at night is a special one. While certain senses diminish in these conditions, others perk up taking in the sights, sounds, and movements at the water’s surface and below. Intuition about your positioning and surroundings becomes key. Knowing the right place to go diving, and when the conditions will be right is the last piece of the puzzle.

Crayfish/Lobster freshly caught by diver

Ula Hunting Regulations

Hunting ula is subject to regulations from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, so before you go on a hunt, make sure you know the rules. Check the guidelines here: Division of Aquatic Resources – Spiny Lobster. Key requirements are:

  • Minimum size 3-1/4 inches (carapace length)
  • No spearing, whole only
  • No taking or killing females

green sea turtle swims in the ocean at night

light shines on lobsters in the ocean

light under the ocean shines on sea life

lobster in the ocean

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Gabe Venturelli

October 22, 2021

Get after it Neal!

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