Monday, July 1, 2013

2013 Florida Spiny Lobster Sport Season In July



PORT CANAVERAL, Florida -- The 2013 Florida Spiny Lobster Sport Season, also known as 'Mini-Season' will take place this month on July 24 and 25, 2013.


In past years, every boat returning to the public boat ramp in Port Canaveral, Florida that dove for lobsters had reached their legal limit during the spiny lobster mini season. 


Diver after diver would throw back smaller lobsters when they caught a larger one to stay within the statutory limits to avoid the $331 tickets being issued by vigilant Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers.

Once their limit was met, divers found more interesting things to do with their time such as spear large flounder in the nearby lobster infested area.


The mini-season gives sports fisherman first dibs at the lobsters before commercial fishing of the giant sea bugs begins the first week of August 2013 and continues into March 2014.



PHOTOS: Brevard Times / File


Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Spiny Lobster Season Information:

Spiny Lobster Sport Season

Season dates Bag limit Possession limit - on the water Possession limit - off the water Minimum size limit 
  July 24-25, 2013 (Last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July each year)
6 per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park
12 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 water
Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times
Find 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.

Spiny Lobster Measurement

Spiny Lobster must have a minimum carapace length of greater than 3-inches and the measurement must take place in the water. The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding any soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace.

FWC Illustration


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 water
Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times
Find 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.


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.