Coast Guard, FWC urges the public to follow fishing regulations during spiny lobster season in Florida

Fishing and Hunting

TAMPA (WFLA) – Spiny lobster season begins this week and the Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission want to make sure everyone stays safe and follows fishing regulations.

The season takes place July 24 and 25. FWC will partner with local Coast Guard units to conduct daily patrols starting Tuesday.  Regular spiny lobster season starts August 6 through March 31.

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

• Have a medical assessment completed by a doctor before diving.
• 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.

“Properly displaying your dive flag anytime swimmers are in the water will alert surrounding boaters,” said Chief Warrant Officer Chad Turner, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Key West. “A dive flag is for the safety of the swimmer and the boater. The boaters must maintain bare speed within 100 yards of the flag, and swimmers should be reminded that they must be aware of their distance to their flag. 

Last year, Coast Guard Station Key West conducted over 300 safety boardings and completed over 100 spot checks and counted over 1,200 lobsters in the short two day period. Along with checking fisheries regulations, two people were cited for boating under the influence. 

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