Friday, May 25 , 2018, 1:26 pm | Fair 65º


Captain’s Log: Santa Barbara Lobsters, Fresh for You

Santa Barbara lobsters are succulent and available. Lobster season is under way, and the critters are proving to be high grade. Find local lobster for the freshest dinner possible and to keep your local economy strong. If you live local, buy local.

Lobstermen and women are out in force and working hard, even through foul weather and hazardous seas. When the “bugs” are catchable, these hardy folks are working.

The season just opened, and it lasts until sometime in March. But lobster are not always easy to locate and catch. Early season is often the best time.

Here is how it works. Commercial lobster anglers catch or buy a pickup truck full of mackerel, which becomes bait to attract the lobster. They bait their wire, box-shaped traps and drop them off their boats at just the right spots they hope are loaded with lobster. Attached to that trap is a long rope with colorful floating buoys, each of which shows the permit number of the commercial fisher. This is all very tightly controlled and managed for sustainability so that we always have lobster.

The boat heads back to port and returns the next day to pull the traps, measure each lobster, discard the sub-legal units, rebait the traps, drop them back in either the same spot or a new spot, and then bring the lobsters into port to sell.

Local lobster are generally the freshest, and you can even buy them still alive, providing the freshest meal possible. One great local buying opportunity is the Fisherman’s Market in the Santa Barbara Harbor, each Saturday from 7 to 11 a.m. You can buy lobster and other delicious seafood right from the person who caught it.

Some of our seafood markets are very careful to work with local fisherfolk. Others are callous about it. I advise asking your seafood market if these are locally-caught lobster. If not, go to a market that cares about the local economy and our own fleet of hardworking commercial fishers.

It’s simple: When you buy stuff from elsewhere, your money leaves your community. When you buy locally, your money stays in your community. Think about that the next time you consider buying anything online that you could get at a local mom-and-pop shop, or when you are buying lobster from a market that gets it from wherever they can get a cheap price, rather than supporting local workers.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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