We have taken multiple trips to the keys but each visit we find ourselves spending ample amount of time trying to figure out where we can legally lobster. This article is here to map out where you can and cannot lobster in the Florida Keys.
Lobstering is Prohibited in the following areas:
• Artificial Habitats in State Waters
Artificial habitats include anything placed in the water to provide habitat for spiny lobster.
• Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary
You may lobster within the Biscayne Bay National Park as long as you avoid the Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary and the triangular prohibited zone marked on the map.
Lobstering within the city limits of Layton is strictly prohibited this includes all canals. Long Key State Park surrounds most of the city of Layton and lobstering is prohibited within the park as well.
• Dry Tortugas National Park
The Dry Tortugas National Park boundary is very clear on most charts.
• Everglades National Park (Florida Bay)
• Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
You may lobster in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as long as you avoid the marked no-take areas. No-take areas are clearly marked by 30” diameter round yellow boundary buoys (they are very noticeable on Navionics charts):
Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs)
• Key Largo Dry Rocks
• French Reef
• Molasses Reef
• Conch Reef
• Hen and Chickens
• Davis Reef
• Sand Key
• Tennessee Reef
• Western Sambo
• During the Regular season no one can take any lobster from or within any patch reefs regardless of proximity to “Pennekamp Lobster Exclusion Zone.”
During mini season all of John Pennekamp State Park is closed for lobstering.
• “Pennekamp Lobster Exclusion Zones” are closed during the Regular Season and are marked with white and orange spar buoys:
• Basin Hills North
• Basin Hills South
• Three Sisters South
• Within 300 feet of improved residential or commercial shoreline, any manmade or private canal, any public or private marina.
These no-take zones were put in place to help keep the Spiny Lobster’s population up while the number of people lobstering continues to increase. If you make sure to avoid these areas you will be good to go for lobstering. Check under rocks and along ledges where seagrass meets the sand.
Don’t forget to stay up to date on the Spiny Lobster Regulations.
I hope this helps on your search for a tasty dinner.