Lobster, Fishing Seasons Set To Begin

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Lobster Season Set To Begin

  With the annual lobster mini-season having been another success, the regular season for lobster harvest is right around the corner.

  Safety is a big concern among divers, with regulations strictly enforced.

  Miami-Dade Fire Rescue states that making sure you have a dive flag and are trained in first aid and CPR can be critical safety measures that are overlooked.

  Knowing where the nearest medical and chamber facilities are and how to get there is also important, while planning your dives, complete with a “float plan” to share with family and friends, is something that can help save time and increase safety.

  For local lobster fisherman Jay Bogart, the annual season is a chance to do something he has participated in annually for over 40 years.

  “If you haven’t really done this before, the best way to find some lobster is to go out and drag,” said Bogart. “Put your dive flag down and drag until you see a rock and you find some. That’s how you can go and find your best spots, and that’s how I found mine.”

  With the competitiveness of lobster season comes the risk of losing out on your preferred locations, warns Bogart.

  “If you give out your [coordinates] to someone, you know what you find? You’ll never find any more lobster there again!” he joked.

Capt. Mo Estevez’s Fishing Report

All the way from Texas came Carlos and Andrea on vacation and while here, of course check out the Miami fishing.

We had a great time catching trout, snappers, big sharks and other mystery species that never made it to the boat.

It was a great day with some great people.

FWC Addresses Reptile Issues

Seven venomous reptiles are now in a safe facility after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) removed them from an unlicensed man last week.

FWC investigators charged Nick Mitchell (DOB 03/03/94) of 8125 Misty Oaks Blvd, Sarasota, with unlawful possession of seven venomous reptiles and several other violations related to the care, keeping and labeling of his animals.

Each violation is a misdemeanor charge and punishable by up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.

The animals, including a gila monster, black monocled cobra, rhino viper, dusky pygmy rattlesnake, black neck spitting cobra and two banded cobras, were seized and placed at a local licensed facility.

“Removing these reptiles was important to protect public safety and the well-being of the animals,” said Capt. Leandro Isambert, a supervisor in the FWC’s Southwest Regional office. “There are important captive wildlife rules that need to be followed, particularly where venomous reptiles are concerned. We’re fortunate no one was hurt and we were able to get them to a safe facility where they will be well cared for.”

In a separate event, a Fort Myers man was taken to the hospital Saturday after he was bitten by a coral snake that he was keeping as a pet.

He did not have any licenses to possess this snake, and the FWC is investigating.

“This is another example of the importance of these captive wildlife rules,” Isambert said. “Licensed individuals are trained to keep themselves and the animals safe.”

For more information on how to properly possess captive wildlife in Florida, visit MyFWC.com/Wildlife and select “Captive Wildlife.”

To report known or suspected violations, call 888-404-3922 or text Tip@MyFWC.com.

Gulf Amberjack, Grey Triggerfish Harvest Opens

The recreational harvest of greater amberjack and gray triggerfish in Gulf of Mexico state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) reopens Aug. 1.

In Gulf federal waters, greater amberjack will also open Aug. 1, but gray triggerfish will remain closed through Dec. 31.

In both state and federal Gulf waters, greater amberjack must be larger than 30 inches when measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the tail to be harvested when the season is open.

 There is a daily bag limit of one fish per person.

Gray triggerfish must be larger than 14 inches when measured from the lower jaw to the fork of the tail to be taken in state and federal Gulf waters when the season is open.

There is a two-fish daily bag limit per person.

Seasonal harvest closures, as well as size and bag limits, help conserve Florida’s valuable greater amberjack and gray triggerfish populations and improve opportunities in these fisheries for the future.

Invasion Prompts FWC To Change Lionfish Fishery Management

  Florida is known as a tourist-friendly state, but starting August 1, one visitor will no longer be welcome: the invasive lionfish.

  Introduced into Florida Waters in the late 1980’s, lionfish populations have boomed in recent years, negatively impacting native wildlife and habitat.

  Several management changes will go into effect on August 1 that will help FWC combat the growing problem by making it easier for lionfish hunters to remove the spiny predators and limiting further introduction of the species into the waters.

  Changes include prohibiting the importation of live lionfish.

  In addition, lionfish can be removed via spearfishing when diving with a rebreather, as well as allowing participants of approved tournaments and other organized events to spear lionfish or other invasive species in areas where spearfishing is currently not allowed.

  These spearfishing allowances, which includes locations such as state parks and refugees, will be done through a permitting system.