Fishing Reports & Charter Info for Key West, FL
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Florida Spiny Lobster Season

Florida Keys Spiny Lobstering

Well the regular season for Florida Spiny Lobster or ‘bugs’ opened on August 6th. The season goes from August 6th through March 31st in the Keys. There are a few regulations for recreational harvest of Spiny Lobster and they can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife website. You can view the 2014 brochure here for the regulations and how to measure a lobster.

Lobster Mini-Season (Sport Season) – July 30th & 31st, 2014

The Lobster Mini-Season is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July (For 2014 it is July 30th & 31st) . The regulations state that each person harvesting lobster is allowed 6 Spiny Lobsters per day of both the sport mini-season and the regular season.

Florida Spiny Lobster

Florida Spiny Lobster Habitat

 

You must be in possession of a measuring device and use it to be certain the carapace of the lobster is at least 3″ from the center of the eyes to the start of the tail section.

Lobstering during mini-season begins at midnight on the first day. During the night-time hours the lobsters may only be taken by “bully netting” and no divers are allowed in the water until sunrise. Bully Netting is done with a large net on a long pole and with a light that can be submerged or a powerful hand-held light if you are in a pinch. The lobster travel during the night and a reflection from their eyes can be seen to pinpoint their position. The bully net is placed on top of the lobster and as he swims up into the net you would invert the net and bring it into the boat.

Personally it’s more fun to go during the daytime and work through the underwater ledges and coral heads in search of the spiny creature. These areas can be found throughout the shallow waters on both the Atlantic and Gulf edges of the Keys. Basically during the mini-season and the beginning of the regular season you will just have to find your spot. It’s sometimes a challenge as there can be nearly 30,000 people throughout the Keys that are visitors here specifically for lobstering.

Florida Spiny Lobter

How to measure a Florida Spiny Lobster
(image from www.myfwc.com)

There are several dive boats that will take visitors out specifically for lobstering. The cost for sharing a charter like this may be more expensive than a regular dive trip because of the licensing and extra equipment. Be sure to ask if you need to obtain your own Florida Fishing License with a Lobster Stamp (an extra $2.00 usually) or if the charter company provides the license.

For any questions regarding the rules and regulations for lobstering in the Florida Keys please contact Florida Fish and Wildlife in Monroe County at (305) 289-2805.

 

 

From the FWC Website – Information on bag limits and licensing for Spiny Lobster

Florida Regulations:

Spiny Lobster Sport Season

Season dates Bag limit Possession limit – on the water Possession limit – off the water Minimum size limit
July 30-31, 2014 (Last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July each year) 6 per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park12 per person per day for the rest of Florida Equal to the daily bag limit Equal to the daily bag limit on the first day, and double the daily bag limit on the second day Carapace larger than 3″, measured in the waterPossession and use of a measuring device is required at all timesFind out how to measure spiny lobster

*Possession limits are enforced on and off the water

**Night diving is prohibited in Monroe County (only during the sport season)

***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, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary during both the 2-day sport season and regular season.

 

Regular Spiny Lobster Season

Season dates Bag limit Possession limit – on the water Minimum size limit
Aug. 6 – March 31 6 per person per day Equal to the daily bag limit Carapace larger than 3″, measured in the waterPossession and use of a measuring device is required at all timesFind out how to measure spiny lobster

***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, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary during both the 2-day sport season and regular season.

Florida Keys/Monroe County Information

Call 305-852-7717 or visit http://floridakeys.noaa.gov icon_external.png 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 icon_pdf.gif for Monroe County.

Other Prohibitions

  • Unless exempt, a recreational saltwater fishing license and a lobster permit are required to harvest spiny lobster
  • Lobster must be landed in whole condition. Separating the tail from the body is prohibited in state waters.
  • The harvest or possession of eggbearing spiny lobster, or any other eggbearing 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
  • 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.

 


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