Lobster mini-season begins in Florida
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Lobster lovers have two days to take advantage of the mini-season.
At midnight Wednesday, 48 hours of lobster diving began. "Twelve for me and 12 for my partner, so we'll get 24," said Jason Mendez.
Mendez and his friend geared up for the highly anticipated lobster mini-season just hours before midnight. "We're going to go out and fish for a while, then, at midnight, I'm going to jump in the water," he said.
Alexio Kafouros fished for lobsters at the Crandon Park Marina in Key Biscayne and returned with a cooler full of the marine crustaceans. "Great weather, the currents were beautiful, the water was incredible," he said. "A little murky, but we had lighting and good team effort bringing them up."
Lobster sniffing dogs with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission patrolled waters along with several state, federal, county and local authorities to make sure no one goes beyond the limit. Officials will also be on high alert to make sure boaters stay safe. "We got pulled over by the Coast Guard, police, marine patrol, who else? The Coast Guard reserve," said Jason Ferras, "but they all were willing to help, which is pretty cool."
Brothers Greg and Mike Hutchisson said they caught 24 lobsters in just a few hours. "That should feed a few people," said Greg Hutchisson.
The Hutchissons also kicked off the lobster mini-season at midnight. "It was beautiful out there, it was really nice, very calm, good conditions," said Mike Hutchisson. "Obviously, we didn't have much trouble getting our limit within a couple of hours."
The lobster limit is six per person, per day in Biscayne National Park and Monroe County. You can catch up to 12 lobsters anywhere else in Florida. "Each year you're a little concerned, what's the crop going to be like this year, but it was good," said Greg Hutchisson. "The size this year was pretty impressive, they were all a really good size."
Also, night diving is prohibited in Monroe County.
Authorities are reminding boaters to pay close attention to diver down flags. "Unfortunately, every year, somebody was struck by a vessel," said FWC Officer Jorge Pino. "No lobster is worth your life, so just pay attention."
For Mendez, this season has become a sort of pastime. "I just enjoy catching them. I've been doing this since I was 13 with my father," he said. "Good time catching and good time eating."
Lobster mini season ends Thursday at 11:59 p.m.
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