MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida’s two-day lobster mini-season officially got underway at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday but some boaters found it difficult to get into the water early 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 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. That means there were no boat launches at county-run marinas at midnight in the hunt for Florida’s spiny lobster.

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Some boaters waited in line for hours at the Crandon Park Marina so they could launch.

“We usually go at midnight every year and then go fishing at night, now we have to wait until the morning time,” said Rudy Alvarez who had been in line since midnight.

To beat the crowd, some people left Tuesday night and spent the night on their boats.

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

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

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