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Authorities warn divers of rules, regulations ahead of lobster mini-season

Season kicks off at midnight

MIAMI – Lobster mini-season kicks off at midnight and on Tuesday, officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard were giving the 411 on safety and regulations.

"We will be patrolling to make sure you have your safety equipment and you have your proper licensing and permitting," Ronald Washington, of the FWC, said.  

Officials said the biggest threat lies with inexperienced divers and boaters not properly displaying a dive flag.

The proper ways of lobstering include using a snare, tickle stick or bully netting. 

Each person is limited to six lobsters within Biscayne National Park and the Florida Keys and 12 outside of those areas, but within regulated locations. 

FWC officials said they'll be watching for those who get greedy or try to beat the crowd. 

"We're gonna be out there before and after the season," Washington said. "Some of the criminal violations include wringing the tails. Separating the head from the tail while you're underway on the boat is illegal."

It's also illegal to take lobsters out-of-season or to take pregnant female lobsters at any time. 

Fire Rescue officials remind boaters that no lobster is worth your life.

"Make sure your diving gear has been properly inspected by themselves and by the professionals and also to have a dive plan," Kirsten Miller, of MDFR, said. "Know your dive and dive your dive."  

Below is a list of lobster requirements:

  • Carapace must be more than 3 inches long.
  • Tail must be at least 5 1/2 inches long.
  • Female pregnant lobsters are prohibited. You can tell if a female lobster is pregnant if you see hundreds of orange balls under its belly.

Click here to view an FWC map which shows prohibited lobstering areas.