Before you go lobster catching, know where it’s prohibited
Everyone who’s not in jail for repeated innocent violations of Florida’s two-day lobster sport season needs to brush up on the regulations for the regular season beginning Sunday, Aug. 6. There are so many places where you can’t legally catch lobsters that it’s easier to learn what’s off limits than what’s not.
Mistakes will be easiest to make in the Keys, especially the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. If you’re doing lobsters there, you must first go here — http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/regs/mc_lobster.pdf — to avoid getting into trouble.
If you’re reading Waterfront Times’ print version, ride your computer or smart phone to www.MyFWC.com/fishing and click on Saltwater, Recreational Regulations, Lobster and “Regulations for Recreational Harvest and Lobster Information for Monroe County.”
Tedious, isn’t it?
Other than that, you had better know the boundaries of Biscayne National Park. Its ocean area is open to lobster-catching, but the larger area in Biscayne Bay is part of the Biscayne Bay-Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary. You can’t take any there.
The park’s islands make it easy to avoid the prohibited part in the southern section, but it’s easy to err in the Safety Valve flats and channels north of the Ragged Keys.
We had trouble finding a map that precisely delineates the sanctuary. The best we could do is a satellite shot that you can zoom in on: www.floridagofishing.com/reefs/gps-reefs-interactive-chart.html.
Lobster catching is forbidden entirely in other South Florida national parks, Everglades and Dry Tortugas.