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Lobsters Run for Cover During Mini Season
New Regulations in Effect for Biscayne National Park

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lobsters Run for Cover During Mini Season

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Compiled from information furnished by Biscayne National Park.

The 2-Day Sport Season (also known as "Mini-Season") is Wednesday and Thursday, July 27 and 28, 2005. The Regular Season runs from August 6, 2005– March 31, 2006 (open to commercial and sport fishermen).

New Limits on Lobster Take in Biscayne National Park


2-Day Sport Season: A maximum of 6 lobsters per person per day. Note that this is a change implemented during the 2003-2004 season that brings the park into consistency with the rest of the Florida Keys.

Additional regulations may apply in areas adjacent to Biscayne National Park. Contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for more information (1-800-488-6058).

Regular Season: A maximum of 6 lobsters per person per day. Note that there is no longer any "per boat" limit.

Size: Lobsters that are kept must have a carapace length of more than 3 inches. Undersized lobsters must be immediately released unharmed. Legal size lobsters must be in a whole condition until returned to shore. "Wringing" or separating the tail from the body is prohibited in park waters. Possession of "wrung" or separated tails on or below the park’s waters is prohibited.

How to measure: A measuring device must be utilized when harvesting spiny lobsters. Each person in the water must have a measuring device with them. Measurements must be made before the lobster is removed from the water.

When measuring, begin at the front edge of the bony part between the horns (does not include the softer portion between the eyes). Proceed along the middle of the back to the rear edge of the top part of the carapace. Measurements pertain only to carapace length. Tail measurements are not valid.

Females: Any egg-bearing females, regardless of species or size, must be immediately returned to the water unharmed. Eggs are found on the underside of the tail and appear as opaque, berry-like formations. Eggs must not be removed or molested.

Methods of Take: Lobsters may only be taken using hands, hand-held nets, bully nets, or other means which permit the lobsters to be released unharmed if not of legal size. Use of grains, spears, grabs, hooks, or similar devices is prohibited. Traps may not be used without a permit from the Florida Department of Natural Resources.

License Requirements: A valid Florida State saltwater fishing license with a current crawfish endorsement is required to harvest lobsters in Biscayne National Park. Exemptions from the fishing license requirement still apply (i.e. residents over 65 and under 16 years of age).

Diving/Snorkeling: State law requires the prominent display of a divers-down flag when diving or snorkeling.

  • The size of divers-down flags displayed on vessels should be 20 inches by 24 inches, and a stiffener is required to keep the flag unfurled. Dive flags carried on floats may still be 12 inches by 12 inches. Also, divers-down flags on vessels must be displayed so that the flag's visibility is not obstructed.
  • Vessel operators must make reasonable efforts to maintain a distance of 100 feet from any divers-down flag while on a river, inlet, or navigation channel, and divers are reminded that they must make a reasonable effort to stay within 100 feet of the divers-down flag on rivers, inlets and navigation channels.
  • Divers must make reasonable efforts to stay within 300 feet of the divers-down flag on all waterways other than rivers, inlets, or navigation channels, and vessel operators must make a reasonable effort to maintain a distance of 300 feet from the flags on these waters. Vessels approaching divers-down flags closer than 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets, and navigation channels must slow their vessels to idle speed.

It is prohibited for anyone to dive or snorkel in, or within 100 feet of, any marked channel within Biscayne National Park or in any harbor within the park.

Biscayne Bay - Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary - The taking of lobsters is prohibited at any time of the year in the Biscayne Bay-Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary. The sanctuary boundary extends from the northern edge of Matheson Hammock Park east to the southern tip of Cape Florida (Key Biscayne). From Cape Florida it runs south to Soldier Key then along the eastern high water line of Soldier Key, the Ragged Keys, Boca Chita Key, Sands Key, Elliott Key, Old Rhodes Key, Swan Key, Palo Alto Key, and Angelfish Key to the southern edge of Pumpkin Creek.

It then turns north and then south, running along the high water line of Key Largo, following the western shore of Pumpkin Creek, the southern shores of Angelfish Creek and Little Pumpkin Creek, and the eastern edge of Card Sound to the Card Sound Bridge. From the Card Sound Bridge it runs north along the western high water lines of Little Card Sound, Card Sound, and Biscayne Bay to the northern boundary of Matheson Hammock Park.

All natural, artificial, and tidal creeks between the islands and along the mainland are included in the sanctuary and are closed to lobstering.

Click here for Biscayne Bay - Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary Map.

Lobsters may be taken east of the islands during the legal seasons. Legally taken lobsters may be transported through the Sanctuary as long as no one from the boat is overboard (in the water) while inside the sanctuary.

Florida State laws pertaining to the harvesting of spiny lobster apply to all areas within Biscayne National Park. Regulations may differ in waters surrounding the Park. Contact the appropriate agencies for regulations in these areas.

For further information on lobstering in Biscayne National Park, call (305) 230-PARK (230-7275).

Warning: The violation of lobstering rules
and regulations can result in fines or other punishments.

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