A look at lobster season in South Florida
A Miami-Dade County man was arrested in the Florida Keys after wildlife officers say he was spearfishing in state waters and catching out-of-season and undersized spiny lobsters.
Juan Miguel Aro, 46, remained in Monroe County jail Tuesday morning on a dozen fisheries violations. His bond information was not immediately available.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Jorge Larios said he saw Aro on Sunday in the water near the Tavernier Creek Bridge, holding a speargun and looking under rocks. Spearfishing in state waters of the Upper Keys is illegal from Long Key north to the Miami-Dade County line.
Larios stated in his report that he asked Aro to get out of the water. He asked for his ID, which Aro said was in his car.
Aro told Larios that he had not yet caught any fish. Larios saw two coolers inside the vehicle, which Aro gave him permission to search, according to the FWC arrest report.
Larios saw 13 mangrove snappers, two schoolmaster snappers and six Florida spiny lobsters inside the cooler, he wrote in his report.
Five of the mangrove snapper and both schoolmasters were under the legal size limit of 10 inches, according to the report.
Five of the lobsters were undersized. The spiny lobster’s carapace, the part of the body that is not the tail, must be at least three inches long to keep. Nevertheless, commercial and recreational lobster season does not start until Aug. 6, and the two-day lobster “mini-season” isn’t until July 24 and 25.
Larios stated that Aro admitted to catching most of the snappers and all of the lobsters. He said he used a snatch hook to catch the lobsters, which is illegal.
Larios said the lobsters tails and carapaces had holes in them. By law, all lobsters must be landed in one piece and not speared or otherwise injured in the process.