News: The FWC Commission approved several changes to the spiny lobster commercial dive endorsement at the April meeting in Tallahassee. Changes will go into effect July 1 and include:
- Extending the moratorium on issuing new or additional licenses indefinitely (this was set to expire July 1).
- Allowing the remaining valid endorsements to be transferred to another fisher.
- Removing the requirement that the endorsement holder must be on board the vessel during trips where lobster are harvested.
- Removing outdated rule language related to qualification requirements, which are no longer applicable, and clarifying remaining language.
Spiny Lobster: Panulirus argus
||Minimum Size Limit
|Aug. 6 - March 31
Trap fishery: none
Bully Net and Dive Fishery: 250 per vessel
|Carapace larger than 3 inches; Tails longer than 5 1/2 inches
An SPL with a Restricted Species (RS) and Crawfish (C#) or (CD#) endorsement is required to commercially harvest and sell any spiny lobster.
Important Commercial Spiny Lobster Dive Endorsement (CD) Reminder
Spiny Lobster Trap Fishery
- Traps may be baited and placed in the water beginning Aug. 1, but cannot be pulled for harvest until the season opens. Traps must be removed from the water by April 5 each year.
- Traps may be worked during daylight hours only.
- Traps may not be placed within 100 feet of the intercoastal waterway or any bridge or seawall.
- Pulling another person's trap without the express written consent of the owner and FWC Law Enforcement is prohibited.
- Harvest is prohibited in designated areas of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
- A person aboard a vessel with a C# and trap certificates may harvest and possess while on the water 50 undersized spiny lobster (shorts) and one short per trap aboard the boat.
- Shorts must be released alive and unharmed upon leaving trap lines (livewell specifications apply). The allowance for shorts applies to the trap fishery only and sale is prohibited.
Spiny Lobster Trap Specifications
- Traps must be constructed of wood or plastic
- Plastic traps must have a degradable panel.
- Refer to the official rules before building or buying traps.
- Wood slat traps must be no larger than 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet or a volume of 12 cubic feet
- These traps shall be constructed with wood slats that are a minimum of 1 ¼ inches wide with a maximum spacing between slats of 2 ¼ inches
- The throat or entrance must be larger than 6 inches by 3 ½ inches and must be located in the top horizontal section of the trap
- A spiny lobster trap tag must be permanently affixed
- The buoy must be no smaller than 6 inches and must be marked with a legible spiny lobster endorsement number that is at least 2 inches tall
Spiny Lobster Dive Fishery
All vessels used by persons commercially harvesting lobster by diving, scuba or snorkel must display the Commercial Dive Permit (CD#) on the vessel. A dive permit was issued to divers with trip ticket landings between July 1, 2000 and June 30, 2003.
Trap certificates cannot be held by a person with a CD#. No dive permits will be issued, renewed or replaced except those that were active in 2004- 05. Dive permits not renewed by September 30, of each year are forfeited to the FWC.
- A 250 lobster per day vessel limit applies in Broward, Dade, Monroe, Collier and Lee counties and adjoining federal waters.
- The recreational bag limit applies when diving at night.
- Divers must possess a carapace measuring device and measure lobster in the water.
- The use of bleach or chemical solutions or simultaneous possession of spiny lobster and any plastic container capable of ejecting liquid is prohibited.
- Harvest from artificial habitat is prohibited.
- Divers must permanently and conspicuously display a "divers down flag" placard on the vessel and affix the CD# to the diagonal stripe with 10" numbers visable from the air and 4" numbers visable from the water.
- Spiny lobster retained as an incidental bycatch in a net or trawl other than a hand-held net may not exceed five percent of the total whole weight of all species possessed (all license requirements apply).
- Spiny lobster may only be sold by or purchased from persons who hold the required licenses and endorsements.
- A federal permit is required to possess "wrung" tails in or on state waters. Tails must be at least 5 ½ inches in length (not including muscle tissue).
- Possession of undersized lobster is prohibited, except as provided for in the Spiny Lobster Trap Fishery section. Undersized lobster may not be sold.
- Possession of any egg-bearing lobster is prohibited.
- Use of any device that could puncture or crush the lobster is prohibited.
- The vessel limit for harvest with a bullynet is 250 lobster per vessel per day statewide.