September 29, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Open Season

Last weekend marked the opening of lobster season in California waters. Scuba divers all over the state celebrated by grabbing their dive lights and jumping overboard at the stroke of midnight to grab as many of the spiny crustaceans as luck and the law would allow. More than a few football fans probably wolfed down lobster meat instead of pizza at halftime yesterday. I'm sure some of my coworkers and diving friends braved the red tide to grab some red tails.

California Department of Fish and Game regulations currently limit the take of lobsters to seven. That's seven on any given day during lobster season. I won't attempt to dispute the assuredly scientific and well-researched analysis that goes into determining this limit every year. However, given how popular the marine animals are with hunters and how enthusiastically they're hunted, I wonder just how the ocean can sustain the stock of these creatures.

Hunting, in fact, is something I've never been able to understand—or stomach. Whenever I sink below the surface and swim about the blue waters of the Pacific, I am amazed anew by the beauty and serenity of undersea life. To dive down and rip scallops from the reef, to skewer a fish as it peacefully swims through the water, to tear a writhing lobster out of its rocky home... such actions seem antithetical to the enjoyment of scuba diving. When a coworker and I recently dove in Mission Bay to take some water samples, we passed the time between samplings by looking for lobsters under the rocks. To me, discovering the hiding crustaceans brought a feeling of awe. To him, it was a game, practice for future hunts. While I peeked into the crevices, simply watching the wary lobsters as they watched me, he reached in, grabbed the hapless animals and yanked them out—some of them females laden with thousands of eggs.

And when it comes to lobsters in particular, I cannot fathom how a hunter can take his catch home and cook it. Unlike conventional fishing, where one kills the fish quickly and more or less painlessly, lobster hunting calls for keeping the animal alive until ready for cooking, at which time it's tossed alive into a cauldron of boiling water. I can't think of a more inhumane way to cook a meal.

Lobster meat has long been, and will likely continue to be, a succulent delicacy found on most high-end seafood menus. Lobster hunting will similarly remain a popular sport amongst divers as long as it's legal. And I will remain unable to comprehend how a diver can reconcile his or her respect for and enjoyment of the undersea realm with the disrespectful and joyless kill of its denizens strictly for sport.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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September Columns:

9/29: Open Season
9/28: Runaway Train
9/27: The Seven
9/25: Dreamscape
9/24: Survivor: Sacramento
9/23: What Am I Doing at Work?
9/21: San Diego Chokers
9/20: Farewell, Galileo
9/17: Anything Can Happen
9/16: Midnight Writing
9/15: Decline and Fall
9/14: Loyalty By Default
9/13: Debt Snowball
9/12: My Cup Runneth Over
9/11: Unforgettable Day
9/10: Fall Approaches
9/9: Total Recall
9/8: Legal Illegals
9/7: 116 More Days
Previous months in The Archive

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