Lobster Hunters Encouraged to Enjoy Mini Sport Season Responsibly
July 08, 2022 • KW Tourist
Many Florida Keys visitors and residents participate in the annual two-day spiny lobster sport season and the traditional lobster harvesting season, and Keys officials want everyone to have an enjoyable, safe and environmentally low-impact experience.
Locally dubbed “mini-season” because of its short duration, the statewide two-day sport harvesting period begins at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 27, and ends at midnight Thursday night. Regular lobster season begins at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 6 and continues through March 31.
Law enforcement agencies work together to strictly enforce lobster harvest and boating safety regulations. Divers should be in good physical health and, before embarking on their lobster excursion, ensure they are current with their dive certification and verify that their dive equipment and boating gear are all in good working order.
Keys lobster-catching regulations for both sport season and regular lobster season can be found at KeysLobsterSeason.com. The dedicated website features videos highlighting dive and boating safety tips, up-to-date rules and regulations for lobster harvesting within the Keys, such as daily limits, and emphasizes avoiding prohibited, no-take zones protected within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary boundaries.
Rules include a limit of six lobsters — each with a carapace measuring larger than three inches — per person, per day. Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials. A lobster's carapace must be measured in the water and the lobster must be kept intact until after returning to shore.
FWC officials are to stage an information booth at Key Largo’s Waldorf Plaza, mile marker 100 oceanside at Divers Direct, with hours of operation planned for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 23, through Tuesday, July 26. Staff are to demonstrate how to properly measure harvested lobsters and provide the latest lobster-catching rules and regulations.