It’s time for lobster lovers across South Florida to start to salivate. The 2011 lobster mini-season will begin at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 27th and will run until Thursday, July 28th. But, there are some things you must remember if you’re going to go out and try to reel in your catch of lobsters.
- Only 12 lobsters per person per day may be taken in Broward and Miami Dade Counties with the exception of Biscayne National Park.
- Only 6 lobsters may be taken per person per day in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park. No lobsters may be taken from the lobster sanctuary in Biscayne National Park.
- Lobsters cannot be taken from the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the 2-day season.
- The possession limit on the water is equal to the daily bag limit, and off the water is equal to the daily bag limit on the first day and double the daily bag limit on the second day.
- Possession limits will be strictly enforced on and off the water.
- Night diving during the two-day sport season is not allowed in Monroe County.
- Lobsters cannot be taken during both the 2-day sport season and regular season in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and no take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
- Divers are not allowed to use equipment that could puncture the lobster’s shell; including spears, hooks, and wire snares.
- Divers and snorkelers are required to display a “divers-down” flag (red with a white diagonal stripe) while in the water.
- Spiny lobster has a minimum size limit that must be larger than 3″ carapace, measured in the water.
- Egg-bearing lobsters must be released unharmed. You can recognize the eggs by an orange, yellow, brown, or red mass found covering the bottom of the lobster’s tail.
- Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times.
- A recreational saltwater license and a crawfish permit are needed for before lobsters can be caught. A one-year fishing license for residents is $17.00, while non-residents can purchase 3-day ($17.00), 7-day ($30.00), or 1-year licenses ($47.00.) Active military personnel stationed in Florida are considered to be residents. Licenses are available through dive shops, many tackle shops, and marine supply stores. They are also available through the FWC website.
- Regular spiny lobster season is August 6 through March 31. The bag limit is 6 per person per day.