MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida divers and lobster lovers will soon be hitting the water for the state’s annual two-day lobster mini-season.
The recreational mini-season runs July 26th and 27th and is followed by the regular commercial and recreational season, which starts Aug. 6 and runs through March 31, 2018.
According to state law, during the two-day sport lobster season, divers and snorkelers can take up to six lobsters per person daily in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, 12 per person per day for the rest of Florida.
The lobsters must have a carapace length greater than 3 inches to be legally taken during the open season. Divers must possess a measuring device, and lobsters must be in the water while they are measured.
Taking egg-bearing females is prohibited.
The spiny lobsters must remain in whole condition until they are brought to shore. Any device that might puncture, penetrate or crush the shell of the lobster may not be used.
Click Here for the rules of this year’s mini-season.
Night diving for spiny lobsters during the two-day sport season is not allowed in Monroe County. Additionally, there is no lobster hunting in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the two-day season.
Lobster harvest is also prohibited at all times in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary, certain areas in Pennekamp Park, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
You must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit unless you are exempt from recreational license requirements.
Florida wildlife officials said more than half a million people have gotten the proper permits for lobster hunting and they expect more than a million and a half lobsters will be harvested this year.
New this year, FWC wants divers to do double duty and also remove invasive lionfish. These non-native species are often found in the same areas as spiny lobster, and they negatively impact Florida’s native wildlife and habitat.