Lobster mini-season: Dive boats seeing fewer lobsters, more divers as season approaches

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. -- - Dive boat captains are seeing fewer lobsters this year as Lobster mini season is set to open on Wednesday.

The 48 hours of around the clock hunting for native crustaceans might not yield as big of a harvest as 2013.

"They're not like they were last year. Last year there was an abundance of them. This year, what we found is that they're spotty," said Captain Van Blakeman of the Narcosis.

Blakeman said what will be in abundance are all of the boats searching the seas for lobsters.e
"We've had a lot more boats than we've ever had before. People are coming out. The economy too. You could go out here and get 12 lobsters a piece. Nobody is going to go to Costco and buy 12 lobsters," said Blakeman.

With more boats there are more chances for problems out on the ocean. It makes safety even more of a priority for Florida Fish and Wildlife officers this year.

"If you're on a boat, driving the boat, make sure you're keeping an eye out for those divers because it's hard to see where you're looking across the ocean," said Katherine Johnson, spokesperson with FWC.

Officers will be out in full force and once again using a dog to sniff out any illegal catches.

Blakeman said while he is not seeing as many lobsters in 2014, he is hoping he does once the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday and the mini season opens.
"There's a lot of conditions that could change and we're hoping for the best," said Blakeman.

Divers can catch 12 lobsters per person in Palm Beach County. In the Keys, only six are allowed.