I just finished my first year of lobster fishing in California and was hoping that there may be a way to know in real time if someone is pulling my traps/poaching? I have used zip ties to confirm that this is happening but can't seem to do anything about it. Maybe someone on this site has a possible solution or a deterrent so that this stops or at least slows down? I gather a camera would be expensive but maybe there is something that can be put in the float? Also, does anyone know of an insurance carrier that may insure lobster traps or is this not offered due to to high risk of loss? Thank you in advance for your thoughts, insurance would be great but there is nothing I can find.
They make Cellular Trail Camera(s). Something like this: https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/...3mp-22mteudg34mpcllcmtch/22mteudg34mpcllcmtch
Cut a recess into one of your buoys so the camera fits inside it. Leash the camera to your warp with some strong fishing line so you don't loose it. I would then make a door out of the material you cut out to fit the camera in. Then with a piece of fishing line I'd try and rig it so that when you lifted the buoy out of the water it pulled the door off/open which would allow the camera to trigger. I think you could do this by putting a loop in your warp about 5ft down and tie the loop with weak, like 5lb, fishing line as a weak link, and secure the line from the buoy door to the warp below this loop. Then when someone hooks or grabs the warp below the buoy to pull the trap up, the 5lb line will break and pulling the buoy up will pull the door off. If it is set up right the only time you'd get a picture/video notification is when the buoy was taken out of the water. If you were lucky you'd have several pics of the guy and his boat and you could be waiting for him when he gets back to the docks to say hello. The cameras are like $100 a piece so if someone gets away with it, it can get expensive but stolen traps and lobster adds up too. Some cameras also have location services so if the guy didn't know what he was doing and took the camera home with him, you could use the app to show up at his doorstep.
If you were really ambitious, you could make a waterproof housing for the camera for deep water, and put it inside your trap. Then when the trap was brought to the surface, it would get cell reception and send a pic.
How about booby trapping it by rigging up one of these SPINY LOBSTER Animal Figurine Safari Ltd. toy Incredible Creatures New 12 " 95866001988 | eBay
with a sort of dye pack contraption filled with paint so if someone reaches inside and tries to pull it out, it goes off covering the guy and his boat with paint? Actually doesn't have to be that elaborate, just fill it with paint, cork it, tie cork to trap. When thief pulls on lobster, cork falls out and paint drips all over the deck. If its a scuba diver stealing, then fill the fake lobster with blood. Maybe a shark will come eat him.
Have to be carful because you don't want to cause injury and create legal issues. But there's a guy on YouTube who booby traps packages and leaves them on porches where people are stealing packages. They are rigged with a camera to film everything and also rigged with glitter and skunk spray so when the thief opens it up in their car or apartment, the glitter bomb goes off and makes a big mess and the spray stinks up the place and its all streamed to the internet.
You could also rig something up like the really old style "trail timers", Proposed trail-camera restrictions highlight growing controversy | Grand View Outdoors
by putting something like that hidden in the buoy you rigged to stop when the trap was pulled, you'd at least know the date and time it was done. Poacher wouldn't know it and after a few times you might be able to figure out exactly when he's doing it if there's a pattern.
I also wonder if most poachers pull traps by hand? Maybe you could thwart them by just adding more weight to your traps so they are too miserable to pull without a hauler.