Florida spiny lobster season runs Aug. 6 and runs through March 31

 

Spiny lobster season opens Aug. 6 with a two day season opener July 30-31. Photo courtesy FWC.

Spiny lobster season opens Aug. 6 with a two day season opener July 30-31. Photo courtesy FWC.

2014 spiny lobster season opens with the two-day recreational sport season July 30 and 31

The Florida spiny lobster season starts Aug. 6 and runs through March 31.

Planning on catching some of these tasty crustaceans? Here is what you need to know before you go.

Spiny Lobster measurementNo one wants a small lobster for dinner. Make sure you check the size. Measuring devices are required, and lobsters must be measured while they are in the water. If the carapace length is not larger than 3 inches, it must be left in the water (see image on how to measure spiny lobster).

 

To protect the next generation and your future chances to have lobster for dinner, harvest of egg-bearing females is prohibited. Lobsters have hundreds of thousands of eggs that are easily visible and attached under the tail. While most lobsters have completed reproduction by the start of the fishing season, finding lobsters with eggs is common in July and August.

Bring a cooler big enough to hold the entire lobster. Spiny lobsters must remain in whole condition until they are brought to shore. Also, do not take spiny lobster with any device that might puncture, penetrate or crush its shell.

Stick to the bag and possession limits so there will be enough lobsters for all your friends and family. During the two-day spiny lobster sport season, recreational divers and snorkelers can take up to six lobsters per person daily in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park waters and 12 lobsters per person daily in other Florida waters. You may possess no more than the daily bag limit of lobsters when you are on the water. When you are off the water, you may possess no more than the daily bag limit on the first day of the sport season and no more than double the daily bag limit on the second day. See the chart for an easy-to-read guide on the two-day sport season bag limits. During the Aug. 6-to-March 31 regular season, the daily recreational bag and on-the-water possession limit is six spiny lobsters per person.

Two-Day Sport Season Where? Daily bag limit and max number you can possess while on the water Max number you can possess off the water – July 30 Max number you can possess off the water July 31
  Monroe Co. and Biscayne National Park 6 6 12
  All other Florida waters 12 12 24

 

While the waters may be less crowded at night, diving for spiny lobsters after the sun goes down is not allowed in Monroe County during the two-day sport season.

Know where you can go. Lobster harvest is always prohibited in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary, certain areas of John Pennekamp State Park, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. During the two-day season, all harvest of lobster is prohibited throughout John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Have the proper paperwork. A recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit are required to recreationally harvest spiny lobsters unless you are exempt from recreational license requirements. Information about these licenses and permits is available online at MyFWC.com/License.

Do double-duty while you are in the water and remove invasive lionfish. These nonnative species are often found in the same areas as spiny lobster, and they negatively impact Florida’s native wildlife and habitat. Help keep the lionfish population under control by removing them from Florida waters. If you plan to take lionfish with a spear, be aware of no-spearing zones and always check with your local law enforcement agency before planning your spearfishing trips.

Safety first. Divers, even those who wade in, should stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down symbol (red with a white diagonal stripe) on a flag or buoy when in open water and within 100 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag or buoy if on a river, inlet or navigation channel. Boat operators must slow to idle speed if they need to travel within 300 feet of a divers-down flag or buoy in open water or 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel.

Divers-down flags displayed on vessels must be at least 20 inches by 24 inches, and a stiffener is required to keep the flag unfurled. The flag must be displayed from the highest point of the vessel, must be visible from all directions and must be displayed only when divers are in the water. So when the divers are out of the water, don’t forget to take it down. Divers-down symbols towed by divers must be at least 12 inches by 12 inches. More information on divers-down flag requirements is available online at MyFWC.com/Boating by clicking on “Boating Regulations.”

Additional information on recreational spiny lobster fishing, including how to measure spiny lobster, is available online at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Lobster.”

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Walton county fishing report for July 22

shellcrackerFishing is great!

Choctawhatchee Bay area: Still good bites of speckled trout west of Hogtown. Also hybrid bass.

Offshore/inshore: Good bites of snapper, grouper, and king mackerel.

River: Shellcracker bite are fantastic!

Click here for fishing forecast

Bay and river report brought to you by Copeland’s. “Where the locals shop and the tourists are welcome.”

Click here to find out more about Copeland’s.
Copeland’s Gun and Tackle Shop
17290 U.S. Hwy. 331 S
Freeport, Florida 32439
(850) 835-4277
Store hours:
Mon. – Fri.: 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat.: 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Closed

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E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center presents Reptile Round-up Aug. 2

turtlebobCome face to face with reptiles of all shapes and sizes. Discover the world of reptiles through arts and crafts, and other amazing activities. Alligators, snakes, turtles, and lizards oh my!

General Admission: Adults: $8, Children $5, 2 and under Free

Snacks and lunch available for purchase.

For more information, call (850) 835-1842. The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center is located at 4956 State Hwy 20 East, Freeport, Florida 32439

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Community workshop regarding beach accesses and potential change in future use of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park July 30

Terns along the beach at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Terns along the beach at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Date/time: July 30 at 6 p.m. – South Walton Courthouse Annex, 31 Coastal Center Blvd., Santa Rosa Beach, FL

The Walton County Tourist Development Council is proposing a public beach access within Topsail Hill Preserve State Park’s western boundaries. The proposed ¼ mile+ long boardwalk would be a pedestrian and bicycle access only with no parking or restroom facilities.

A public workshop will be held on this subject and other proposed accesses on July 30 at 6 p.m. at the South Walton courthouse. The Board of County Commissioners will be voting on whether or not to proceed with the proposed projects at the commissioner’s meeting on Aug. 12. Click here: Requestfromwaltoncounty to view initial request and initial feasibility study of proposed Topsail access.

Outfall at Morris Lake. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Outfall at Morris Lake. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

If you have ever been to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, it’s easy to understand why it is celebrated as one of the Florida’s most favored recreation and preservation areas. Topsail contains 16 distinct natural communities, and is home to several threatened and endangered species such as the snowy plover, Choctawhatchee beach mouse, and gopher tortoise to name a few. It features wet prairies, scrub, pine flatwoods, marshes and cypress domes. More than three miles of crystal white quartz beaches await your enjoyment, along with five beautiful coastal dune lakes. In total, the preserve is 1,643 acres of natural wonder.

One must experience Topsail first hand to comprehend its incredible significance as an important place to conserve. The scent of rosemary, pines, salt air, stimulate your senses as you explore the many natural features of this extraordinary place. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is the last of its kind; a precious jewel that hopefully will be left intact for future generations to enjoy. It is one of the last remaining natural examples of Real Florida.

Click here for Topsail Hill Preserve’s Unit Management Plan.

Click here to learn more about exploring beautiful Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.

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Learn about endangered beach mice at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park July 23

 Date/time: Wednesday July 23rd, 3-4 p.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park presents a program on the endangered Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse. They live in a fragile habitat near the beach and only come out at night. Come learn what we to do monitor and protect this important species . Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the park’s clubhouse.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

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Abrakadoodle Art Education hosts All About Owls at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center Aug. 6

eowilsonbiophiliaTime: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Abrakadoodle Art Education for kids is hosting summer day camps at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center. On Wed., Aug. 6, have a hoot with the Biophilia feathered friends, and learn all about how these creatures eat by dissecting an owl pellet. Create an owl collage using paper, use air dry clay to mold your own special feathered friend, and paint an owl peeking out of a tree! Pack a snack, drinks, and lunch.

Cost is $45. Registration is at www.abrakadoodle.com/fl-northwest-register/

For more information, call (850) 835-1842. The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center is located at 4956 State Hwy 20 East, Freeport, Florida 32439

 

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Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge comes to Henderson Beach State Park July 24

  Date: Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:30 a.m. – Noon

Henderson Beach State Park will host the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge staff and their animal ambassadors on Thursday, July 24. In addition to learning how the animals were rescued, you will learn what they eat, where they live, and how they survive in the wild.  Be sure to bring your camera for some great photo opportunities.

Fees:  Program included in the park admission fee. Call (850) 837-7550 for more information.

Directions:  Henderson Beach State Park is located in Okaloosa County, on Highway 98 just east of Destin.

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Learn about coastal critters at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park July 18

deerDate/time: Friday July 18th, 2014 – 2-3 p.m.

Topsail hill Preserve State park invites you to a hands on program where you will learn what type of creatures can be found in this area. You will get to see various bones, shells, seeds, and other things you can find on the beach and in the woods. This program includes both sea and land critters, and is fun for all ages. The park staff will direct you to the clubhouse where the program will be held.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

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Public workshop on proposed beach accesses including Topsail Hill Preserve State Park July 30

walton-county-logoInterested in learning about proposed beach accesses including one slated for Topsail Hill Preserve State Park?

Walton County will be hosting a public workshop on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. or soon thereafter, to present and discuss proposed new beach accesses including one at Topsail State Park.

South Walton Annex
31 Coastal Center Blvd
Santa Rosa Beach, FL

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Take a historical tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve July 30

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve. Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in South Walton.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing.  The 220-acre nature preserve is owned by the Coffeen Land Trust, a local environmental non-profit organization dedicated to preserving it “as a place of peace and quiet and a haven for all God’s creatures.” Its history however is far from quiet. It was used as a secret missile test site by the Army Air Force during World War II. Hundreds of JB-2 “Buzz Bombs,” (the first pilotless, jet propelled missiles), were launched from the dunes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Join Susan Paladini, the Resident Manager, and explore the site where America’s strategic missile program began. You will view the original military photographs inside the “mess hall” and learn about the generous gift of the founder, the late Dorothy Coffeen.

This will be followed by a hike of approximately 1½ miles around the property, which will include walking along two original missile launch ramps, stepping down into concrete launch bunkers and viewing other military buildings. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Preserve and Fuller Lake. This is the most western of Walton County’s globally rare and imperiled coastal dune lakes.

Participants are encouraged to wear a hat, sunscreen and insect repellant and to bring bottled water. Closed-toed or other suitable walking shoes are a must.

Space is limited to 16 participants. No minimum.

Location: Coffeen Nature Preserve, Santa Rosa Beach

Fee: $20

Call now to register. 850-200-4160. Have your credit card ready and reference number May 28 – Ref# 90583, June 11 – Ref# 91958, June 25 – Ref# 91959, July 16 – Ref# 91960, July 30 – Ref# 91961

CANCELLATION & REFUND POLICY:
All events subject to cancellation. In the case of inclement weather, registrants will be notified by email or phone the afternoon/evening prior, and fees will be fully refunded.

Individual cancellations will be accepted and fully refunded up to 1 full business day (24 hours) prior to the tour. No-shows forfeit entire payment.
CBAecoadventures

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