I cannot think of a fishery in the world better managed than Florida’s Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus). Despite the thousands of people catching lobsters for fun or commercially, lobsters in Florida are abundant, all over the place. There are enough lobsters for commercial boat catch to supply thousands of local restaurantes, supermarkets and still have surplus lobsters to export. Recreational divers can harvest up to 6 lobsters per day and most divers catch their limit when diving with that intention.
Of course Florida’s coast is naturally rich in Spiny Lobsters, but the abundance we see today is a result of wise and strict management of the fishery and not simply Mother Nature’s goodwill. A series of effective fishing regulations that apply to anyone catching lobsters in the state seem to have found the perfect balance between what can be caught and what is left to reproduce, as every year lobsters are back in great numbers for the season. Legally harvested lobsters are governed by rules that determine minimum size, amount caught, method used and areas where capture are permitted. But probably the most efficient measure is the closed period. From the last day of March through October 6, lobsters literally cannot be touched, much less harvested, protecting the sought after crustaceans during it’s vulnerable reproduction period.
There is one exception to the closed period, its the 48 hours that encompasses the last Wednesday and Thursday of July, known as the Lobster Mini Season. During these two days and two nights, recreational divers are allowed to harvest 12 lobsters per day, twice as much permitted during regular season. No comercial boats are allowed to catch lobsters during the mini season, as the whole idea is to give folks a head start before the professional lobster fleet hits the rested spiny lobster population.
By late June, Florida’s corals and artificial reefs are stacked with Spiny Lobsters. Remember, lobsters have not been bothered by humans for approximately 110 days. This is as close to untouched as it gets! For the next 8 months Floridians lobster lovers and commercial boats will have plenty of lobsters for their fund and livelihood!
Regular Season : August 6 - March 31
Minimum Size : 3 inches for Carapace
Bag Limit : 6 lobsters per license
Fishing Methods : - Tickle Stick & Net
- Lobster Snare
- By Hand
Lobsters w/ eggs : Forbidden
License required : FL Saltwater and Lobstering licenses required