Florida Spiny Lobster Sport Season Is Upon Us

There is something “special” about a lobster meal you catch yourself!

There appear to be 2 very different schools of thought when it comes to the Florida Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) Sport Season. There are those that will be sitting over the reef at midnight waiting for the clock to tick a minute past twelve so they can catapult into the water to be amongst the first to “get theirs” (lobster, that is).

Then there is a second group of us that patiently wait for the described “over achievers” to take their best shot so that as interest wanes we can go get ours! After all, there is plenty of time between August 6th and March 31st. These second groups of divers are commonly the same crowd that stays home on New Year’s Eve, leaving the reveling to others.

Don’t misunderstand – it doesn’t mean they do not celebrate or eat lobster; they’re just a bit more methodical and leisurely about it. Chances are they have seen more than their share of New Years Eves as well as lobster dinners (yes – I’m referring to those who are a bit older and have been at it for quite some time, having started diving long before driving).

Regardless of your approach, if you have never been lobstering you owe it to yourself to be able to say,”been there, done that!” Visit your local SDI™ Facility and ask about how you can get involved.

When it comes to lobstering there are as many “best techniques” as there are lobster divers. However, I will tell you this, the longer your proctor has been “bugging,” the faster you will learn the important nuances, like what else resides in that same crevice as a lobster? Why is a dive light such a BIG deal? And of course, tickle stick? (I consider myself a rather serious person, if I wouldn’t tickle my buddy on the surface why would I do so under water?) And why are lobster bags so many different designs?

As for those that will tell you that “what you do in Florida is not lobstering,” remind them there is nothing lethargic about warm water “bugs.” If anyone asks you “what is it like?” just ask them if they have ever grabbed a rose bush doing sixty miles an hour!

You get the idea. One thing is for sure – you will never taste a better lobster dinner then the one you catch yourself!

For an SDI™ facility to help you get out there and GET YOURS, visit:

California Lobster Season -Saturday, October 1, 2011 through Wednesday, March 21, 2012. Learn more: https://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/faq.asp.

To learn more about Florida Lobster Season read on:

Season dates: July 27-28, 2011 (Last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July each year).
Bag limits: 6 per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, and 12 per person per day for the rest of Florida.
Possession limit – on the water: equal to the daily bag limit
Possession limit – off the water: 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.
Minimum size limit: must be larger than 3″ carapace, measured in the water. A reminder that possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times, and night diving is prohibited in Monroe County (only during the sport season).
License requirements: A recreational saltwater license and a spiny lobster permit are needed for harvest.

Regular Spiny Lobster Season
Season dates: Aug. 6 – March 31
Bag limit: 6 per person per day
Possession limit – on the water: equal to the daily bag limit
Minimum size limit: must be larger than 3″ carapace, measured in the water. A reminder that possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times.
Prohibitions: Harvest of lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season. Harvest is also prohibited during both the 2-day sport season and regular season in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Call 305-852-7717 or visit https://floridakeys.noaa.gov for information about no take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Please call the FWC Marathon office at 305-289-2320, or check online for lobster harvesting regulations for Monroe County. Recreational trapping of lobster is prohibited.

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.

Other Prohibitions

  • The harvest or possession of egg bearing spiny lobster , or any other 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 prohibited

For more information visit: https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/regulations/lobster/

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