MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida’s two-day lobster mini-season gets underway at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday but getting your boat in the water early may prove difficult due to curfews and marina closures in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties.

Miami-Dade County is still operating under the Mayor’s Executive Orders which requires marinas to open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. That means no boat launches at county-run marinas at midnight in the hunt for Florida’s spiny lobster.

COVID-19 New Normal Guidelines will be observed at marinas, including wearing facial coverings and proper social distancing. There will be additional staff and police posted at boat ramps to enforce the rules.

“We’re in the new normal. We have some additional rules and regulations as we try to turn the tide of this virus. So we’re gonna have to be patient and understanding this year, and hopefully things will get back to a normal next year,” said Mark Richards from tjhe Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department.

It’s the same in Broward County where county-run marinas open at 5:00 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. due to a curfew.

And in the Florida Keys, Monroe County public boat ramps and public beaches are closed on Key Largo, Marathon and Islamorada.

The restrictions were added in order to keep big crowds from spreading the coronavirus.

Normally, the best time to catch a Florida spiny lobster is at night since lobsters stay in their dens during daylight hours to avoid predators and only come out after dark to look for food.

According to state law, during the two-day sport lobster season, divers and snorkelers can take up to six lobsters per person day in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, 12 per person per day for the rest of Florida.

Regulations:

  • 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.
  • Night diving is not allowed in Monroe County. Additionally, there is no lobster hunting in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and in the Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary during both the 2-day sport season and regular season.
  • You must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit.
  • Safety equipment such as flares, life jackets, and fire extinguishers are required to be onboard the vessel.
  • Dive flags must be utilized a with measurement of 20 x 24 inches mounted on the highest point of boat, and 12 x 12 inches if the flag is in the water.
  • No egg-bearing females may be harvested or possessed.

Click Here for more lobster mini-season rules and regulations from the FWC.

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