TIME TO CALL IN SICK AT WORK! Not that I promote such a thing, but this is the time of year when thousands of folks dust off the dive gear and hope to score big on one of Florida’s tastiest crustaceans.
Spiny lobsters also known as rock lobsters, but famously called “Bugs” are found in many areas, such as grass flats, coral reefs and in rock crevices where they can hide from predators.
The spiny lobster sport season, which is the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July (this year that’s the 30 & 31) is when recreational divers can take advantage before commercial lobster fisherman set up traps on August 1st. The regular recreational lobster season runs from August 6 – March 31, 2015.
Be Prepared – Know the Laws
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and other agencies will be patrolling the coastal waters for violators – you don’t want to be ticketed! Divers and snorkelers must possess a saltwater fishing license plus a spiny lobster permit.
The lobsters carapace must measure 3 inches or greater and be measured in the water.
Catch methods have evolved through time -I know I have perfected mine. It is still prohibited to puncture, penetrate, or damage the shell and it must be intact. Egg bearing females are not to be harmed and must be released.
During these two days – Monroe County and Biscayne National Park divers are allowed up to six lobsters per person, while the rest of Florida twelve. For more information on prohibited areas and everything there is to know about the spiny lobster sport season please go to: http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lobster/.
Unfortunately, every year comes with a tragedy. There have been people who have drowned or have been struck by other vessels. Boats displaying divers down flag – a respectful distance of 300 feet must be kept on open water and 100 feet in channels.
Protect for the Future
With the ever increasing number of vessels at sea, we are living in times when there are more people boating and that can be dangerous at times. As you are snorkeling or diving, keep in mind that safety is top priority and as you are having a hell of a time whether on the water or on the boat – the unknown future of the reefs depends on your actions. Please protect our oceans.