LobsterASP

An information booth geared to help travelers coming to the Florida Keys for lobster mini-season is to open Saturday, July 22, at Key Largo’s Waldorf Plaza, mile marker 100 oceanside near the top of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway.

Planned hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Wednesday, July 26, in front of Divers Direct. The plaza is located on the right shoulder of the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 1.

Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are to staff the booth to demonstrate how to properly measure harvested lobsters and provide the latest lobster-catching rules and regulations, which includes a limit of six lobsters — each with a carapace measuring larger than three inches — per person, per day. Daily limits in the Keys and Biscayne National Park differ from those in other parts of Florida.

Visit myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lobster/ for specific 2017 lobster harvesting rules and regulations.

Traditionally, thousands of Keys visitors and residents participate in the spiny lobster sport season. Officials emphasize that it’s important to catch lobsters responsibly and protect their habitats.

“We want to impress the need to protect the (marine ecosystem) resource as well as vessel and dive safety” said FWC Officer Erik Steinmetz. “We’ll also have representatives from the Coast Guard and other resource offices.”

Scuba diving experts said divers should be in good health and make sure their dive and boating gear have been verified to be in good working order before submerging.

Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times, according to FWC officials. Measurement of a lobster’s carapace must be done in the water.

Florida lobster mini-season begins at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, and ends at midnight Thursday, July 27. The regular season begins at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 6.

Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS
Florida Keys diving: fla-keys.com/diving