Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Play it Smart During Spiny Lobster Sport Season

Sanctuary Friends of the Florida Keys
 Each year during the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July thousands of recreational anglers converge on the Florida Keys for Florida’s famous spiny lobster sport season. More than 50,000 anglers have been documented on the water during this two-day "mini" season, and the density of boats along local coral patch reefs can be 900x higher than during the remainder of the regular season (1). Unfortunately, diving and boating accidents are common and deaths are not unheard of during this time. The impact to the lobster population can also great. Managers estimate the two-day sport season is responsible for 20-25% of the total annual recreational fishing effort and 80-90% of the legal size lobsters can be removed from reefs during this time (1,2)

 Spiny Lobster Sport Season Regulations
  • Bag Limit: 6 per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, and 12 per person per day for the rest of Florid
  • Size Limit: Carapace 3 inches or larger, measured in the water. Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all time
  • Possession Limit on the Water: Equal to the daily bag limit
  • Possession Limit off the Water: Equal to the daily bag limit on the first day, and double the daily bag limit on the second day. Possession limits are enforced on and off the water.

*Harvest of spiny lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season.  Harvest is also prohibited during both the 2-day sport season and regular season in Biscayne National Park’s Lobster Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and no take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Night diving is prohibite in Monroe County during the sport season.For more information on spiny lobster sport and regular season regulations click here.

To legally harvest spiny lobster, a spiny lobster permit must be purchased in addition to a valid Florida saltwater fishing license (even if you are fishing from shore and have a free shoreline lincese, a spiny lobster permit is required). Click here for more information on fishing licenses.

Useful Tools for Spiny Lobster Sport Season
  • Dive Flag - All divers in Florida waters must display a dive flag and stay within 100 feet of it.
  • Short-Handled Lobster Net and Tail Snare - Nets are used on sand flats while snares are best for reefs. 
  • Tickle Stick - A thin fiberglass rod about 24 inches long used to coax lobsters out of holes without harming the reef.
  • Gloves - Used to get a firm grip on a lobster. Always handle a lobster by its carapace as they can sacrifice an antennae to escape being caught
  • Mesh Game Bag - To hold your catch. Look for models with a convenient way to attach to your weight belt or gear, and a locking enclosure.
  • Lobster Gauge - Every diver must carry a lobster gauge and must measure the lobster under water before it's placed in the game bag.

According to the FWC, "the carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding any soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace."

(1)  Eggleston, D.B, E.G. Johnson, G.T. Kellison, and D.A. Nadeau. 2003. Intense removal and non-saturating functional responses by recreational divers on spiny lobster Panulirus argus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser. 257: 197-207.

(2)  Sharp, W.C., R.D. Bertelsen, and V.R. Leeworthy. 2005. Long-term trends in the recreational lobster fishery of Florida, United States: Landings, effort and implications for management. New Zeal J Mar Freshwat Res. 39: 733-747.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Do You Need a Florida Saltwater Fishing License?


Ø Besides natural shorelines the license is required for piers, jetties, bridges, floating docks or similar structures and includes bay, inland, Gulf and Atlantic waters of the State

Ø  Since July 1, 2010 the annual resident shoreline fishing license is FREE, but residents fishing from shore are still required to obtain the license. Resident anglers who order the shoreline license over the phone or Internet will still have to pay a processing fee to the vendor

Ø Resident anglers who purchase a one-year, five-year, combination, or lifetime saltwater license are covered for both shoreline and watercraft recreational fishing.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a resident is "Any person who has resided in Florida for six continuous months prior to applying for a resident license and who claims Florida as their primary residence, or any member of the U.S. armed forces who is stationed in the state."


Ø A resident drawing food stamps, temporary cash assistance or Medicaid and carrying an issued identification card while fishing

Ø A resident fishing in their home county with live or natural bait using a cane pole or other gear that does not depend on mechanical retrieval

Ø Under 16 years of age

Ø A Florida resident over 65 years of age

Ø Fishing from a for-hire vessel

Ø Fishing from a pier with a valid pier saltwater fishing license

Ø A Florida resident who's a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, home on leave for 30 days or less

Ø A Florida resident who possesses a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate

Ø A holder of a saltwater products license

Ø Accepted as a client for developmental services by Dept. of Child and Family services, with proof there of

Ø A resident with a no-cost Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate, with certification of disability
To order a fishing license online visit: www.fl.wildlifelicense.com
or call 1-888-FISH FLORIDA (1-888-347-4356)

Additiona information can be obtained by visiting
www.myfwc.com or http://catchandrelease.org

Why should I consider purchasing a license if I'm not required to have one?
The more licenses purchased by Florida anglers, the more federal aid the state gets to support sport fish conservation and restoration projects. License sales help bring fishing tackle and motor boat fuel taxes back to Florida and help support its economy.