91ºF

2-day lobster mini-season to be held Wednesday, Thursday

FWC steps up efforts to keep public safe

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Florida's two-day lobster mini season kicks off at midnight, which means an increase in activity on the water, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is stepping up efforts to make sure everyone stays safe.

Divers, snorkelers and boaters are expected to be out in full force Wednesday and Thursday to catch lobsters.

"A lot of boats in a given area with people swimming in the water, whether they're scuba diving or snorkeling, can be a dangerous situation," Alfredo Escanio, of the FWC, said.

Authorities said one of the biggest dangers is boats running over scuba divers, or boats crashing into each other.

"That is the significance of displaying your dive flag," Escanio said. "If you're diving from a boat, the size of the flag has to be 20 by 24."

Another danger is getting cut while catching the crustacean, as spiny-tailed lobsters have sharp bodies and are feisty.

"Make sure that you do have a first aid kit on hand, as well as use good sun protection, long-sleeved shirts, hats, sunscreen -- and make sure you hydrate significantly," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Felipe Lay said.

Authorities also warned the public Tuesday that they will not be allowed to take undersized lobsters.

Lobsters have to have a carapace longer than three inches to be legal.

The FWC said there were no fatalities during mini-season last year, but there were some injuries.

The agency said it will be a successful year if no one gets hurt.

Commercial lobster season is held from August to March.