This has been a good summer for divers seeking lobsters and scallops. The population in the Gulf of Mexico for Florida spiny lobsters has been very low in the past five to six years. But more Gulf lobsters have been harvested this year than in the recent past. Lobsters usually found in the limestone ledges of the Gulf from north of Port Charlotte to the Florida Middle Grounds are older lobsters than the ones in the Keys. The lobsters this far from the Keys came from the Keys; they walked hundreds of miles and that took some time. So when you find a spiny lobster off the central west coast of Florida they are usually well above the minimum size limit. Over the past half dozen years divers have become complacent and haven't looked as actively for the lobsters, and this could be a mistake. Also, the Florida bay scallop season has been great. Up until Hurricane Hermine, the scallop grounds from the Hernando/Pasco line north to Mexico Bay canal have produced plenty. The hurricane ran right up the center of the most prolific scallop grounds and it is too soon to see what impact the hurricane caused to them. Hopefully divers can still enjoy scalloping success before the season ends Sept. 24.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and firstname.lastname@example.org.