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2020 Lobster Mini-Season: What You Need to Know

Every consecutive last Wednesday and Thursday in July marks Lobster Mini-Season, or “sport” season. This period permits recreational fishers to harvest lobster, and takes place a week or so before the opening of regular season. While there have been no changes in lobster harvest regulations by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, this year five new no-take areas have been established off of Miami-Dade County’s coastline, within Biscayne National Park. These areas became official on July 1, and are important to note before heading out onto the water. These Coral Reef Protection Areas (CRPAs) are:

  • Fowey Rocks
  • Alina’s Reef
  • Lob 120 Reef
  • Marker 3 Reef
  • Ball Buoy Reef

For the exact coordinates of these areas, please go here. These CRPAs prohibit fishing of any kind all year-round. It’s also important to note the other no-take/no-harvest areas:

  • Biscayne Bay-Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Everglades National Park
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
  • Sanctuary Preservation Areas of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

 

Image: National Park Service

As per FWC regulations, lobsters may be kept if larger than 76mm or 3-inch carapace length, measured in the water. No gravid or egg-bearing females may be kept. A valid saltwater fishing license as well as lobster stamp are required for all parties who meet the requirements to have one. Bag limits depend upon geographic area: 6 lobster per person, per day within Biscayne National Park and the entire Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and 12 lobster per person, per day elsewhere in Miami-Dade County and areas north.

Also different in 2020, is the fact that the United States is in the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The state of Florida and Miami-Dade County are experiencing high rates of infection and Miami-Dade County is still operating under a state of emergency. In addition to ensuring that you, your friends and family, and your boat have all required safety equipment, it is critical to take extra precautions this year:

  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet in public places
  • Masks or facial coverings are required at all City and County boat ramps and parks
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

I wish you all a safe and prolific Lobster Mini-Season.