By Amber Nolan
The countdown is on for the much-anticipated, two-day lobster mini season that officially starts on Wednesday, July 25. As tourists come in droves to hunt the spiny lobster, there will likely be increased traffic both on and off the water and deputies will be out in-force to make sure everyone is following wildlife laws.
A recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit are required to harvest spiny lobsters. The lobster carapace must be larger than 3 inches, and tails bust be longer than 5 1/2 inches. A more detailed list of state regulations can be found here.
Additionally, it is illegal to take spiny lobsters in ecological reserves and sanctuary preservation areas where fishing is prohibited (sanctuary boundaries can be found here).
The bag limit for the Florida Keys (and Biscayne National Park) is six lobsters per person per day, where the rest of Florida is 12.
Also, in Monroe County waters, it is unlawful for any person to dive or snorkel in any manmade water body or marina, or within 300 feet of an improved residential or commercial shoreline beginning three days prior to the opening of and during the entirety of the lobster mini-season and for the first five days of commercial lobster season.
Anglers who participated in the Lionfish Challenge and captured 25 lionfish are allowed to take one extra spiny lobster per day during the two-day mini-season. The sheriff’s office warns everyone to be careful out on the water, and not to leave fishing gear or other valuables unattended because thieves may see the two-day sport season as an opportunity.
The regular Florida commercial spiny lobster season runs from August 6 until the March 31, and Key West celebrates with Lobsterfest beginning August 9.
See related video news about “Hundreds of Lobsters” here: