Spiny Lobster Season – Florida Keys Rules

Spiny Lobster Sport Season

Season dates Bag limit Possession limit – on the water Possession limit – off the water Minimum size limit
 

July 26-27, 2017 (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

*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, no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and in the Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary during both the 2-day sport season and regular season.

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

***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, no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and in the Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary during both the 2-day sport season and regular season.

How to measure Florida Spiny Lobster

Spiny Lobster

Florida Keys/Monroe County Information

Call 305-852-7717 or visit http://floridakeys.noaa.govicon_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.

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 egg-bearing  spiny lobster or any other egg-bearing 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.
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The Florida Keys have other local rules for mini-season, including no diving or snorkeling near shore in most areas.

Snorkeling and diving rules apply on Wednesday and Thursday but have additional days before and after mini-season by jurisdiction.

Generally, the mini-season near-shore rules ban use of a mask and snorkel within 300 feet of improved residential or commercial shoreline, any man-made or private canal, and any public or private marina.

Effective days by jurisdiction:

  • Marathon: Wednesday and Thursday only.
  • Key Colony Beach: Four days preceding mini-season through mini-season season until 10 days after the Aug. 6 opening of regular season.
  • Islamorada: Three days preceding mini-season plus mini-season; and the first five days of regular season.
  • Unincorporated Monroe County and Layton: Three days preceding mini-season, plus mini-season, and the first five days of regular season. Certain exemptions apply to property owners on canals and open water.

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2 thoughts on “Spiny Lobster Season – Florida Keys Rules

  1. Hi, I was just wondering can people come into your private Marina and drive for Lobsters. I work at Marlin Bay Yacht Club and we have two Marina’s and people are always trying to come in most specialty when we were doing construction on it. Thanks I appreciate if you can answer, Patrick

    • I believe they can make rules on fishing, diving, or swimming in the marina. They should probably check with a lawyer on how to do this.

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