On Oct. 1, an amendment to the Florida statute pertaining to Spiny Lobster harvest went into effect, giving authorities more latitude in prosecutions for those who harvest undersized spiny lobster.
The new legislation, SB 1470, sponsored by Rep. Holly Raschein and Sen. Jack Latvala, and championed by many in the Keys, specifies that each undersized spiny lobster found in a violator’s possession may be charged as a separate offense.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hopes this change will encourage lobster harvesters to really pay attention and measure any lobster they harvest from Florida waters.
No one wants a small lobster for dinner, so make sure you check the size. Measuring devices are required, and lobsters harvested while diving must be measured while they are in the water. If its carapace length is not larger than 3 inches, the lobster must be left in the water. Size and bag limits exist to conserve the resource and ensure that lobsters are around for the next generation to enjoy.
For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Lobster.”
- 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.