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Many Divers Get Their Fill Of Lobster At Start Of Mini-Season

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Florida Spiny Lobster (Source: CBS4)

Florida Spiny Lobster (Source: CBS4)

Summer Guide

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Early birds hit the water at one minute after midnight to take full advantage of this year’s two day lobster mini-season.

Divers and boaters returning to the Crandon Park marina after catching their legal allotment said unlike previous years, there were lots of ‘bugs’ for the taking.

“As long as we didn’t get skunked and came back with at least one, we have something to brag about,” said lobster lover Anthony Cruz.

Cruz and his friends came ashore with more than 30 spiny creatures , which is more than enough to brag about.

Luis Esquivia told CBS4’s Marybel Rodriguez that the conditions were a little challenging but they made do.

“Well it was very windy today and the bottom was stirred up so the visibility was very bad. Fortunately for us, we jumped in the water and were able to see these guys (lobsters),” said Esquivia.

Hundreds of lobster hunters waited until the stroke of midnight to hit the water in search of the elusive lobster.

Esquivia said he even brought a friend along who may just be joining him for dinner along with other crustacean friends.

“These are actually sweeter. They are good in pasta and this one is good in pasta or on the grill,” said Sandy Gusto.

So while the early birds got a head start on their dinner plans, divers waited until sunrise to get to their secret spots.

“We have a lot of spots on our GPS,” said diver Rangel Rodriguez. “We go to them, get them and eat them.”

The Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are keeping a close eye on the boaters on the water and at marinas to make sure they are following the rules.

  • The lobster limit is 6 per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park and 12 per person per day for the rest of Florida.
  • Harvesters can possess no more than the daily bag limit of lobsters when they are on the water. When they are off the water, they can possess the daily bag limit on the first day and double the daily bag limit on the second day. Possession limits are enforced on and off the water during the two-day sport season.
  • Night diving is prohibited in Monroe County (only during the sport season).
  • The lobster carapace must be 3″ or larger, measured in the water.
  • Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times.
  • Lobster harvest is prohibited at all times in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Also, the harvest of egg-bearing females is prohibited. Spiny lobster must remain in whole condition until it is brought to shore. Harvesters cannot use any device that might puncture, penetrate or crush the shell of the lobster.

Anyone planning to head out and bag a few must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit unless they are exempt from recreational license requirements.

For more on the rules, check out the Guide To Lobster Mini-Season.

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