FLORIDA (WSVN) — Lobster enthusiasts and fishermen are gearing up for the highly anticipated two-day Lobster Sport “Mini” Season, commencing at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday and concluding at midnight on Thursday.
As an opportunity for recreational fishermen to enjoy a head start on lobster fishing before the commercial boats, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) held a media event at 10 a.m. to discuss the rules and regulations governing the event, dive flag safety, safe boating practices, and the proper method for measuring lobsters through a live demonstration.
Major Alberto Maza of the FWC stressed the importance of caution due to increased boat traffic throughout Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys.
“Be extremely careful,” he said. “The waters will be very congested all through Miami-Dade County and the [Florida] Keys. Be courteous, know your laws, make sure you go to myFWC.com, know your distances from your flag, know where you can be, have a float plan.”
He also highlighted the significance of flying a 20 by 24-inch flag on the highest point of a vessel. This flag serves as a signal to other boaters that there are divers underwater in the vicinity, promoting awareness and safety among all participants.
Conservation remains a top priority for the FWC, with Lt. Ralph Almagro urging all participants to follow the law diligently to protect lobster populations for future generations.
Fishermen participating in the Mini-Season are advised to adhere to the specific guidelines laid out by the FWC.
For Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, the Daily Bag Limit is set at 6 lobsters per person, while the rest of Florida allows a maximum of 12 lobsters per person.
All lobsters caught during the event must meet a minimum size limit, with the carapace required to be larger than 3 inches, measured in the water. It is essential for participants to possess and use a measuring device at all times to ensure compliance with these regulations.
“The way you measure a lobster,” said Lieutenant Ralph Almagro with FWC, “There are two horns and two eyes. You wanna put the measuring device right between the eyes, right in between the horns, and bring it all the way back. If it stops before the end of the carapace, this is a legal lobster.”
The mini-season serves as a precursor to the official lobster season, which is scheduled to commence on August 6, 2023, at 12:01 a.m. and will extend until March 31, 2024, at midnight.
During the regular season, fishermen will continue to follow the rules set forth by the FWC to maintain sustainable lobster populations and preserve the marine ecosystem.
Lobster enthusiasts and fishermen are encouraged to take advantage of this unique opportunity during the mini-season, while adhering to the rules and safety guidelines, to enjoy the thrill of lobster fishing in the beautiful waters of Florida.
Officials also want to remind the public to release any pregnant lobsters. To check for that, you must flip over the crustacean and check for any orange, brown, or black eggs.
By being responsible stewards of the marine environment, everyone can contribute to the long-term sustainability of this cherished recreational activity.
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