Lobster mini-season: Boats, divers hit the ocean early trying to catch crustaceans as season opens

STUART, Fla. - Lobster mini-season 2014 is underway throughout Florida as divers hit the water for a two-day frenzy of crustacean hunting ahead of the commercial season.

As the clock struck midnight on Wednesday, the lights could be seen up and down the coast from Palm Beach County to the Treasure Coast.    

"Insanity. I mean it's just crazy. It can be a lot of fun, but the last few years it's just gotten crazy," said Dave Meyer, a veteran diver who lives in Stuart.

Meyer will not be getting in the water this year because he thinks it is too dangerous.

He said it is a combination of population growth and people choosing to not hunt in the Keys, where divers can only catch six lobsters compared to the 12 that can be caught elsewhere.

Meyer feels there are too many people hitting the seas.

"Every year there are accidents and there really doesn't need to be," said Meyer.

What makes it dangerous is that there are many people out during lobster mini-season who have not been in the water at night or have not strapped on gear since last season.

Diver Curtis Sapusek, who dove a few miles off the St. Lucie Inlet, said his key to staying safe is to find hidden spots.

"Stay off the middle reef. Don't be were everyone tends to go," said Sapusek.

Sapusek just hopes everyone can slow down and is safe so they can come back next year. Meyer agrees.

"It's not worth taking a chance for a lobster. I mean it's just not worth the craziness and it's not worth risking your life to catch a lobster," said Meyer.

Lobster mini season runs until Friday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officer will be out checking boats for illegal catches.

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