Coast Guard, FWC partner for sport spiny-lobster season

A crew member with Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Fla., inspects a spiny lobster during lobster mini season in 2013. Coast Guard file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney.

A crew member with Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Fla., inspects a spiny lobster during lobster mini season in 2013. Coast Guard file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney.

MIAMI — Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission urge the public to stay safe and follow fishing regulations during spiny-lobster mini season, July 29-30.

FWC officers will partner with Coast Guard Station Islamorada crews to conduct daily patrols during the sport season. The partnership will continue during the regular spiny lobster season starting August 6 – March 31.

Crews will be wearing proper protective equipment while engaging with the public.

All divers are urged to exercise caution and implement the following tips:

  • Have a medical assessment completed by a doctor before diving.
  • Follow local and CDC guidance to decrease COVID exposure risks.
  • Plan the dive and provide a float plan to someone ashore who can report divers overdue if they do not return as planned.
  • Never dive alone.
  • Choose dives that match one’s training, experience and fitness level.
  • Practice emergency procedures, like dropping one’s weight belt and inflating the buoyancy compensator in a controlled environment.

“Boaters must make reasonable efforts to stay at least 300 feet away from diver-down warning devices in open water and at least 100 feet away in rivers, inlets, or navigation channels,” said Chief Warrant Officer Scott Goss, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Islamorada. “Also sport season in the Keys comes with a myriad of regulations, which are geograhically specific, and both operators and divers are expected to always know their location and proximity to prohibited areas.”

Last year, Coast Guard Sector Key West crews conducted about 200 safety boardings and completed about 50 spot checks and counted more than 2,100 lobsters in the two-day period. Along with checking fisheries regulations, one person was cited for boating under the influence.

FWC boating regulations can be found here.

Regulations for the recreational harvest for Monroe County can be found here.

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