What will you be doing at midnight? Getting into bed -- or the ocean? If you're crazy about lobster, you just might be celebrating the start of the 2014 Florida mini-season, which takes place this Wednesday and Thursday.
While most of the 50,000 registered sport-season lobster hunters will be in the Keys, thousands of recreational divers and snorkelers will be on the hunt for spiny lobster right here in South Florida.
Each year, the mini sport season is held the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in the month of July (July 30-31 this year). These two days are especially frantic, as recreational lobster hunters take to the waters before the official start to the regular season.
Commercial fishermen can put their traps in the water beginning August 1, and pull them opening day of the regular season, which runs August 6 through March 31. During this time each person can harvest no more than six lobsters per day -- a number that is fixed across the state. That number goes up to 12 during mini-season, however.
If you're planning on lobster hunting this week, make sure you remember a few regulation requirements:
- All lobsters must be three inches (carapace), measured in the water.
- You must have a measuring device on you while diving at all times.
- Outside Monroe County and Biscayne National Park divers are allowed to take up to 12 lobsters per person, per day.
- The harvesting of egg-bearing females is prohibited.
- During the two-day season the harvest of lobster is prohibited throughout John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.