KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -

Starting early Wednesday morning, divers got acquainted with their new spiny friends.

"How do you like to get prepared? Is it in the oven or just boiled?" Eddy Aguayo asked his fresh catch.

Florida's lobster mini-season began at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

But before dinner was served, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials scoured the waters checking equipment, enforcing the catch limit, and making sure boats were keeping a safe distance from one another.

"You need to maintain a distance of 300 feet from these people," said Jorge Pino, a spokesman for FWC. "We don't want to see somebody get struck by a boat."

"Usually, we do really good," said Mike Dasher, who has made the mini-season an annual tradition. "Except for this year."

In about two hours, Dasher said he only caught 13 lobsters, but others heading out their very first time stayed optimistic.

"Just make sure you can get the right size. Just make sure you stick them and grab them. When you pull them out, make sure he's the right size," said Eric, a novice diver.

Then, it was back to making the hardest decision of the day.

"Steamed, baked, grilled, fried, broiled, anything you could think of," Eric said of how he will cook the crustaceans. 

"Paella? Chop you up? It's up to him this year," Aguayo said.