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2018 Lobster Mini-Season is Here!

Southeast Florida is just one day away from the highly anticipated annual event, lobster mini-season. Mini-season takes place during the final Wednesday and Thursday of every July, one week before the start of the regular season. What’s significant about mini-season is that it only allows recreational lobster harvest. Mini-season opens at 12:01 am on Wednesday, July 25 and continues through 11:59pm on Thursday, July 26. This two-day season is the only period in which it’s legal to catch and harvest spiny lobster outside of the regular lobster season, which runs from August 6 through March 31. Mini-season takes place prior to the opening of the regular season, so commercial fishing is not happening simultaneously.

In previous years, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has allowed for the capture of one extra lobster outside of the legal limit, if participants could demonstrate the removal of at least five invasive lionfish during their trips. This year is slightly different: as part of FWC Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (May 19-September 3), FWC is offering registered participants in the  Lionfish Challenge 2018 the chance to harvest one extra lobster during mini-season. For more information on the Lionfish Challenge 2018, go here. Note: this offer applies to registered participants only.

Tips for a safe and enjoyable lobster mini-season:

  • Be sure to comply with all current lobster regulations: http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/commercial/spiny-lobster/
  • All harvested lobsters must have been removed by individuals with a valid fishing license and lobster stamp
  • Maximum harvest is six lobsters per person, per day, or 12 if outside Biscayne National Park and the FL Keys
  • Minimum carapace (hard upper shell) length is three inches (measured in-water)
  • No harvesting of gravid (egg-bearing) female lobsters
  • Lobsters must be kept alive until reaching the dock
  • Observe all recreational dive limits, monitor bottom time and air supply
  • Do not dislodge or topple coral heads in search of lobster