Mini Lobster Season in the Lower Florida Keys: What You Need to Know

The annual two-day spiny lobster sport season and the beginning of the traditional lobster harvesting season in the Florida Keys are approaching, and officials are emphasizing the importance of responsible harvesting and environmentally friendly practices. The statewide two-day sport harvesting period, often referred to as "mini-season," will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 26, and end at midnight on Thursday. The regular lobster season will commence at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, August 6, and run until March 31.

Law enforcement agencies will be actively enforcing lobster harvest and boating safety regulations during these seasons. Divers are advised to ensure they are in good physical health and have their dive certification up to date. It is also important to check that dive equipment and boating gear are in proper working order.

Detailed lobster-catching regulations for both the sport season and regular season can be found at This dedicated website provides videos with dive and boating safety tips, current rules and regulations for lobster harvesting in the Keys (including daily limits), and emphasizes the importance of avoiding prohibited, no-take zones within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The regulations for lobster harvesting in the Florida Keys include a daily limit of six lobsters per person, each with a carapace measuring larger than 3 inches. It is mandatory to possess and use a measuring device at all times. The carapace of a lobster must be measured in the water, and the lobster must be kept intact until returning to shore.

To provide information and assistance, the FWC, in collaboration with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and other agencies, will set up an information booth at Divers Direct, located at mile marker 100 oceanside. The booth will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, through Tuesday, July 25. Staff members will demonstrate the proper measuring technique for harvested lobsters and provide the most up-to-date rules and regulations for lobster catching.

For more information about lobster season in the Florida Keys, visit