Ah, lobster. How we love you so.
Few foods have come to represent summer more than those giant insects of the sea. (That's what they are. Deal with it.)
Unfortunately, that summertime favorite tends to predominate in cold-water areas like New England, specifically Maine. For the most part, we have to deal with the extra costs of shipments rather than getting them straight from the lobstermen themselves.
Not for the next two days, however. Mini-lobster season starts today; recreational divers are free to dive on down to snatch the little arthropods straight off the beach -- or boat, for that matter.
Starting last night at midnight, Mini Lobster Season is open for 48 hours, so there's still plenty of time to get out there.
Years ago, Florida opened a short recreational season to allow divers and snorkelers the opportunity to catch the spiny little sea creatures before the start of the commercial season. Since its inception, Mini Lobster Season has been adjusted several times to adapt to assessments of the crustaceans natural populations.
In South Florida, which includes Broward and Palm Beach counties, there is a limit of 12 per person, per day -- six per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park. Also the carapace -- or main body of the lobster, not including the head and tail -- must be larger than three inches, measured in the water, and you are required to have a measuring device with you at all times. So, there'll be no "But it looked liked more than three inches to me, officer."
This is to ensure only mature lobsters are taken. For a full rundown of the rules and requirements, visit myfwc.com.
Regular lobster season begins nine days after the close of mini season, on August 4.
Many local dive companies are operating special trips to bring lobstering enthusiasts out to the reefs. Visit your local dive store for more information.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.