Spiny lobster season is now open for recreational and commercial harvesting until March 31, 2018.
This season generates more than $1 million through the sales of more than 200,000 spiny lobster permits annually, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“Based on what we saw during the two-day mini-season last month, we look forward to successful recreational harvest as well as ample opportunities for Florida’s robust commercial fishing industry,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski.
Planning on catching some of these tasty crustaceans? Here is what you need to know before you go.
Stick to the bag and possession limits so there will be enough lobsters for all your friends and family. The daily recreational bag and on-the-water possession limit is six spiny lobsters per person for all Florida waters.
No one wants a small lobster for dinner, and recently approved legislation specifies that each undersize spiny lobster found in a violator’s possession may be charged as a separate offense. In addition, recreational or commercial violators with 100 or more undersized spiny lobsters are to be charged with a third-degree felony. Remember to always check the size of lobster you catch. If the carapace length is not larger than 3 inches, it may not be harvested. For divers, measuring devices are required and lobsters must be measured while they are in the water.
To protect the next generation and your future chances to have lobster for dinner, harvest of egg-bearing females is prohibited. Egg-bearing lobsters have hundreds of thousands of eggs attached under the tail that are easily visible. While most lobsters have completed reproduction by the start of the fishing season, finding lobsters with eggs is common in August.
Bully netting at night is a popular method of harvest. Keep in mind, bright lights and loud noise on the water late at night can be disruptive. Keep lights directed down and avoid shining lights at houses along the shoreline. Keep sound levels low when near shoreline residences. Bully netters have a right to fish, but should be courteous of others by minimizing disruptions and not trespassing on private property.
Bring a cooler big enough to hold the entire lobster. Spiny lobsters must remain in whole condition until they are brought to shore. Also, do not take spiny lobster with any device that might puncture, penetrate or crush its shell.
Licenses and permits
Make sure to have the proper paperwork. A recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit are required to recreationally harvest spiny lobsters unless you are exempt from recreational license requirements. Information about these licenses and permits is available online at MyFWC.com/License.
This news release was provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.