July 24th and 25th, 2013, which is this Wednesday and Thursday, marks this year’s two-day recreational lobster season, commonly known as mini-season. During this period, recreational snorkelers and divers can take up to six lobsters per day in Monroe County waters.
This can be a really fun time on the water, but that fun can quickly go south if you are not careful or if you do not follow the regulations. So, below are some notes to keep in mind that it followed will hopefully keep you safe and and the good times going.
- You can possess no more than the daily bag limit (6 per person per day) while you are on the water. And if you do get caught with more than your limit, be prepared to get arrested and pay some heavy fines, as possession limits are enforced both on and off the water during these days. Over the years I can attest to seeing many, many people pulled over and arrested while driving home because they had well over the limit on them, or they possessed undersized lobsters.
- Night diving for lobsters in not permitted in Monroe County, and there are also no-take areas to be aware of such as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Dry Tortugas.
- You must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster endorsement to harvest unless you are exempt from these rules.
- Spiny lobsters must have a carapace length more than 3″ to be taken during season. Snorkelers and divers should therefore have a measuring devise and lobsters must be measured from the water.
- Harvesting egg-bearing females is not permitted.
- Lobsters must remain whole until brought to shore.
- Harvesters may not use any device that might puncture or crush the shell of the lobster.
- With so many boats on the water, many of whose operators may be inexperienced boaters, please take extra special care.
- Stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed dive flag when in open water and within 100 feet on a river, inlet, or navigational channel.
- Dive flags must be at least 20″ x 24″ in size and a stiffener is required to keep the flag unfurled. It must be displayed at the highest point of the vessel and visible from all directions. Flags must not be displayed when divers / snorkelers are out of the water.
- Dive flags carried on floats must be at least 12″ x 12″.
You can find more information about the rules and regulations for mini-season in more detail by reading the FWC_spinylobster_brochure.
Once you catch your limit of lobsters you are going to have to prepare them, so check out some of our recipes. We have some great ideas for ways to prepare Florida Spiny lobster.
You can also bring your lobster to several area restaurants that will be more than happy to prepare them for you.
Coming up, the opening of regular lobster season is August 6. That will be followed by Key West’s famed Lobsterfest. If you can be in Key West during this time and you love spiny lobster, this is an event not to be missed. Local restaurants set up shop all down Duval Street and serve this crustacean cooked in all different ways. There are also other vendors, music, and lots of fun to entertain everyone.
To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.
Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!