Lobster Mini-Season Kicks Off

Wildlife officials urge people to be careful and to have a float plan of where they are going and when they will be back

Lobster mini-season starts at the stroke of midnight, and for two days thousands of lobster hunters will blanket South Florida waters in their vessels hoping to snare a lobster feast.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission held a news conference along with state, federal and local agencies to implore boating and dive safety.

Without fail, every year there are mishaps, according to FWC spokesman Jorge Pino.

"Every year we have one, two, or three people who lose their lives. There is no lobster that is worth your life," he said.

This mini-season, the FWC will use a lobster-sniffing dog to find illegal lobster loots. Officers will also be at strategic locations using complex surveillance equipment to catch illegal lobster hunting.

The U.S. Coast Guard also urged people who head out to file a float plan detailing where they are going and when they will be back.

With that float plan, the Coast Guard can more easily find where boaters might be if there's trouble.

While the patrolling agencies will have their hands full over the next two days, dive shops have been slammed for the past month.

At Squalo North Miami Divers, manager Sebastian Duran has spent his days fixing and checking dive equipment for customers. In a back room sat 30 dive tanks just filled.

"A lot of people are renting air tanks, yes. They make reservations a month back," he said.

The mini-season only last two days, and Duran says he'll be busy again in a week when the full lobster season opens for business.

Meanwhile, the Randall family launches their boat expecting a big bounty. They have all their equipment and fishing licenses.

"They stop us all the time. They check to make sure we have enough life jackets," said Lance Randall.

Lance Randall said it's a family tradition and his 11-year-old son will be going out for the first time.

"I've never been before, and I think it's exciting," said Joshua.

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