Park Readies for Two-Day Lobster Mini-Season
During the July 29 and 30 Spiny Lobster Sport Season, a unified team of National Park Service Rangers, working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, will be out on the water in both marked and unmarked vessels, including nighttime hours, to ensure both public safety and legal lobster harvest. At the same time, park biologists will be stationed at popular boat launching sites to complete surveys on the quantity, size, sex and harvest locations for lobsters. The surveys provide scientists with important information to help them monitor and better understand the Park’s lobster populations.
Harvesting lobsters in the Biscayne Bay-Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary (whose boundaries overlap the Park’s boundaries) is prohibited year-round. The Sanctuary, established by the State of Florida to provide a place where lobsters can live and breed safely year-round, includes all of Biscayne Bay and Card Sound from a line connecting Matheson Hammock to the southern tip of Key Biscayne all the way south to Pumpkin Creek and the Card Sound Bridge. The Sanctuary’s eastern boundary conforms to the high water line on the east side of the Keys, including all natural and artificial tidal creeks and channels in that area.
Recreational harvesters with a valid Florida recreational saltwater fishing license and crawfish permit can take up to 6 legal-sized lobsters (3” carapace length) per person, per day during the Sport Season. The same limitations apply during the regular Spiny Lobster season that opens August 6 and runs through March 31, 2010. The taking of egg-bearing female lobsters and the use of spearguns or other hook-type instruments is prohibited. All lobsters must remain in whole condition until returned to the mainland.
Superintendent Mark Lewis stresses that safety is a priority during lobster season. The use of a 20" x 24" dive flag is required to be displayed on vessels used by divers and snorkelers. Boats must stay at least 300 feet from any boat displaying a dive flag unless at idle speed. Use and display dive flags properly. Look for dive flags while operating a vessel and exercise caution near them. Diving in or within 100 feet of a marked channel is prohibited in Biscayne National Park. To help ensure safety and protection of the resource and visitors,
A downloadable lobster brochure, including a map of the Biscayne Bay-Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary and information on how to properly measure a lobster, is available by going online at www.nps.gov/bisc then clicking on the "Fishing & Lobstering" Quick Link. Additionally, a free informational session to help prepare harvesters the 2-day Sport Season is being offered at Bass Pro Shop in Dania on Friday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. For further information, please call the park at 305-230-7275.