You like Florida lobster? Me too. It’s distinctively different from Maine lobster, which I think is too sweet. If you’ve never tried it, give it a shot.
You think lobster is worth dying for? Yeah, me neither. But I’m pretty sure that later this month, at least one person (and maybe several) is going to die because of lobster. And that’s just sad.
The last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July are always the two-day mini sport season for lobster in Florida. This brief chance to grab a few bugs before the regular season kicks off (and before the commercial guys can trap them) always results in a mad scramble.
Most of the craziness happens in the Florida Keys. People haul boats down to what are often unfamiliar waters, where they zip around wondering what those red-and-white flags displayed on so many boats could possibly mean. They consume large quantities of adult beverages and stay up way too late.
Then they head out the next day and do it again.
It doesn’t surprise me when boaters run over divers during the mini season. It surprises me that it doesn’t happen more often.
Anyway, if you’re nutty enough to want to take part, here are some things the FWC would like you to know.
The lobster daily bag limit is six per person for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park; 12 per person for rest of Florida. The possession limit on the water is equal to the daily bag limit. Off the water, the possession limit is equal to 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.
Lobster are subject to a strict minimum size limit. The carapace must be larger than 3 inches, measured in the water. Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times. Find out how to measure a spiny lobster at https://bit.ly/3xCkpSV.
Night diving is prohibited in Monroe County during the sport season. Diving is defined as swimming at or below the surface of the water.
Harvest of lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season and in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, in the Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary, and in the five Coral Reef Protection Areas in Biscayne National Park during both the sport season and regular season.
Lobster must be landed ashore in whole condition. Separating the tail from the body is prohibited while in or on state waters.
The harvest or possession of egg-bearing spiny lobster, or any other egg-bearing species of lobster belonging to the families Palinuridae (spiny lobsters), Scyllaridae (slipper lobsters) or Synaxidae (furry lobsters), is prohibited.
No person shall harvest or attempt to harvest spiny lobster using any device which will or could puncture, penetrate or crush the exoskeleton (shell) or the flesh of the lobster. Recreational trapping is prohibited.
Unless exempt, a recreational saltwater fishing license and a lobster permit are required to harvest spiny lobster.
Regardless of what species you are fishing for, bag limits are only for properly licensed individuals and those people exempt from license requirements who are actively harvesting. People harvesting may not exceed their individual bag limit and take someone else’s bag limit. That is, people (including children) who are not actively harvesting or are not properly licensed (if a license is required) may not be counted for purposes of bag limits.
If you’re going, remember that seafood isn’t worth dying over. Do your best to stay safe. That means keeping your head when other around you are losing theirs. And don’t forget to have fun.
Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or Publisher@WaterLineWeekly.com.