Florida spiny lobster
photo © Robin V. Burr
The state of Florida has a 2-day lobster mini-season. This year the dates are July 29 & 30. The regular season begins August 6 and continues until March 31. You must have a saltwater fishing license to take lobsters. See the State of Florida web site for further information, including current costs and where you can obtain the license. Or call 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA (347-4356).
The mini-season bag limit is 6 lobsters per personper day in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, and 12 per person in the rest of the state. The regular-season daily bag limit is six (6) lobsters per person.
Spiny lobsters must have a minimum carapace length of more than 3 inches and must be measured in the water. (Those who catch lobsters with a bully net are allowed to measure them in the boat and release the small ones.) Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times. Lobsters must remain in whole condition while in or on the water. No egg-bearing females may be taken.
- Personnel from the Coast Guard, National Marine Fisheries Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will patrol the waters surrounding South Florida to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations
- Only daytime diving is permitted in Monroe County; night diving (from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise) is prohibited.
- Carapace of lobster must be greater than three inches in length before they are taken into possession. Lobsters in catch-bags are considered being in possession.
- Anyone lobstering between the ages of 16-65 is required to have a valid state saltwater fishing license and crawfish permit.
- Lobsters may not be taken with a spear, gaff or anything else that may injure the lobster by penetrating its shell. Use of a bully net or hoop is permitted.
- Lobsters must remain in whole condition while harvesters are on the water.
- Obstructing any navigable waterway or marked channel is prohibited
- The following areas are off limits:
- Lobstering in the waters of the Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary is prohibited year-round, as well as lobstering in the Legare Anchorage, east of Sands Key. Here is a map of Biscayne Bay in PDF (252k) format showing the boundaries.
- John Pennekamp State Park, Fort Jefferson National Park and Everglades National Park are also prohibited.
To report lobster violations, call Wildlife Alert at (888) 404-FWCC (3922).