Spiny Lobster Fisheries

Spiny Lobster is the primary commercial species harvested in the Florida Keys, and the largest dollar volume fishery in the State. Three million pounds per year are produced in the Keys, with the major portion caught in traps, and the rest by commercial divers. The season extends from August 6, to March 31, and all traps must be removed from the water for the 4 month spawning closure.

A legal size lobster weighs about 1 pound, and must have a 3” carapace.

A typical lobster trap is made of pressure treated pine, and put together with galvanized staples. The trap is weighted with concrete in each end, and the fisherman’s license number must be branded into the wet cement. Most traps are fished with a 5/16 polypropylene rope attached, and a hard foam surface float painted with the fisherman’s identifying color and the number branded on. Some fishermen work with trot lines of 20 or more traps, and have their identifying floats only at each end of the line.

The average full time lobster fisherman will work about 2,000 traps, and pull  400 a day with a 3 man crew.

A typical lobster boat is about 40’ long, and constructed of fiberglass.

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