Get on board for lobster!

Jul 28, 2021 14:20 · 3920 words · 19 minute read

Morning everyone and welcome to FWC. We are here at the opening morning of the lobster sport season here in the beautiful Florida Keys. Maybe you’re already here, maybe you’re considering coming down for the sport season or even coming down for the regular season which opens next week but I’m going to get on board with law enforcement today.

00:21 - We’re here at our dock. You can see our boat here. I’m gonna pan right on over and show you my captains for the day. Hi, folks. We’re gonna introduce em in just a minute but I’m actually gonna get on board and we’re gonna go for a quick little ride for lobster season and talk about what we’re doing out here and what’s going on in the Keys. So, I’m coming on board here guys. Give me just a moment. Thank you, officer Dube. Appreciate it.

And we’re gonna get cranked up and ready to go. So, just give us just a minute. We appreciate you joining us on our vessel ride this morning. So, quick tip there, officer. What’s a good tip to remember when you’re leaving the dock? Untie, first thing. Untie, first thing. So, make sure your fenders are in as well. Oh, yes, your fenders and if you don’t know anything about boats, a boat fender is one of these guys. One of these guys here, right? And that just is a protective measure for when we come alongside other boats or when we’re docking the boats, etcetera.

So, we are underway. I’m just gonna pan around here.

01:26 - We’ve got some lobster action here right in front of us as we’re pulling out. See these folks are snorkeling. They’re looking for lobsters.

01:40 - And you can see all the boats in the distance as well and first thing I’ll put out, kudos to this person right in front of us. They’ve got their dive flag displayed as they should because they have divers in the water. So, I’m gonna come over real quick. Let’s introduce my captains and that will be operating the vessel today. I’m uh on my right is. Bobby Dooley with the FWC down here in the Florida Keys. Yup and over here to my left.

Hi, I’m FWC officer Paige Peska. I’m the recruiter for South Florida. Alright, awesome. Two very important positions. Bobby, I’m gonna talk a little bit about him today. This is his last lobster sport season here and not just the keys but retiring very soon. Yup, he’s retiring very soon. So, a big shout out to you, Bobby. 32 years in the Florida Keys, his entire career and I just wanna say, you know, great job for all the work you’ve done especially helping me out through all the years talking about lobster.

And fun ride. It has been. Absolutely. I’ve learned a lot from this guy right here and from officer Pesco as well but I’ve spent a lot of time with Bobby working. So, anyways, we’re gonna come over here. We’re talking about lobster. So, where we at? We’re Bayside Wendley Key. We just left our office docks here. Our little station here in Alambrada but we’re Bayside Wendley Key presently. Okay, Bayside Wendley Key and is that um is it considered Upper Keys still in this area? Yeah, Upper Keys, Upper Maticumee Key, Island Marada, Village of the Island so we have many names for our little area here okay fantastic so let’s take a little ride and just see what’s going on I’m gonna stop talking for a minute and let our viewers just kind of enjoy the scenery it’s a beautiful day here in the Upper Keys Almarada area As you can see, there’s some scuba divers here off your left.

Kearland. Come down some people scuba diving for the lobsters. Got the divers down flag.

03:57 - For the time being everyone is behaving, For the time being, everyone’s behaving. It’s early yet. It’s early yet. It’s opening morning. You know, we had some bully netters here last night. I was lucky enough to go out with some of the officers last night. Again, during bully netting, there was a pretty bad storm that actually came through in the Upper Keys Key Largo area last night. So, not a whole lot of bullying activity up there when I was out but you know, speaking of people behaving themselves, So, you see officer Dube there.

Remember, we’re even though we’re live, he’s still doing the job of the law enforcement officer which is his slow-speed zone area. Um yes, it’s actually a slow speed idle speed here in Whale Harbor channel. We have a lot of scuba divers here, spoilers. So, it’s going a little fast. You know, you can come on anyone to get man over here especially where when we’re here in the area. So, just tryna make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Yeah, absolutely, absolutely and you know, one of the terms that we use in law enforcement is situational awareness and that is going to be very key for anybody, not only for our staff and and people, our partner agencies that are out here doing some of this enforcement for lobster season but also for every single person that’s in the water or on a boat recreating, there’s a lot of folks down here and just keeping a proper lookout is so so important.

So, again, just giving you a little look. You got some snorkels there in the distance. They’ve got their individual dive flag that they’re pulling. There’s regulations of specific to the individual dye flag and the vessel die flag. If you’ve been watching us the last couple of days, we have covered all of that information but you can certainly go to the Keys Lobster Season. com website as well. You can go to the FWC website. You can look at our social media post that we’ve been doing.

The information is out there and accessible for you to find. So, we’re coming out here in the channel and just gonna pan back around a little bit. Give you guys a different view of what’s behind This is the area that we just left and we’re in the Winley Key area, correct? And a little fun fact, Carol Lyn? Yes as as we went underneath the bridge here, we went from the Gulf of Mexico presently in the Atlantic Ocean. So, a little fun fact which only happens down here in the Florida Keys when you go from Bayside to Oceanside from Gulf to Atlantic just by going underneath the bridge.

That’s a great fun fact. Yes. Only in the Florida Keys, you heard it from Bobby Dube. Only in the Florida Keys. And and speaking of only in the Florida Keys, you know, the Keys are not the only place that people can recreate for lobster, correct? Correct. primarily, people do it in South Florida but here in the Florida Keys, the water is gin clear. Uh it’s we have a lot more areas where families can bring their small children, teenage kids down here and and snorkel while they get lobster.

you don’t really have to go scuba diving as you know, further north you go and the Palm Beach is the water’s a lot deeper and you really you know, scuba dive and get your lobsters. Yeah. And you know, and because it’s different here and it’s so popular, you know, there are some different regulations here. So, again, we’ve been talking about this for the several days but what’s specific to this sport season here in Monroe County? Um Monroe County and Biscayne National Park.

It’s only six lobsters per person per day whereas everywhere else in the state of Florida, it’s twelve lobsters per person per day but remember, it goes back to six lobsters per person per day after the august 6 when the regular season starts. So, the twelve per person and and date and Collier is is not existed anymore so it goes back to the six so that’s something to remember once regular season starts. Right and regular season starts.

What’s the date again? August six. August six. So, that’s just next week, regular season. Be sure that you are getting yourself educated and informed on the different regulations and the bag and season limits as they change. So, you know, speaking from a law enforcement perspective, how are we doing so far? You mentioned that the public is behaving. Have we made any cases that you have been formed up so far? Everyone has been behaving so far.

It’s early in the day yet. We’ve already had a couple of boating mishaps in the lower keys. So, I don’t know the particulars of those yet um but yeah, we’ve had a couple of boating accidents where somebody was hit by a propeller. So, we just wanna be extra careful and mindful when you’re out here, no drinking and boating. If you are gonna do that, have a designated driver, you know, and stay close to your dive flag and if you are, you know, underway, observe every other people’s dive flag and come off a plane and and look, have an observer and look for, you know, snorkels or divers in the water.

All good tips, all super important tips. We talked a little bit about keeping that proper lookout. Um just to give you a perspective here in the distance, you have this boat here. This got its dive flag displayed for the vessel. You got divers in the water. A three-hundred-foot perimeter is what’s required to keep away from that dive flag. So, you know, keep in mind that there’s a lot of boats out here and just be respectful of that dive flag and keep that three-hundred-foot perimeter.

09:12 - It is a safety issue first and foremost so that when you have people in the water, accidents don’t occur and and officer Dube mentioned a good thing about boating accidents.

09:23 - A good reminder, a lot of people are loading and unloading from the back of the boats. So, remember to not have that vessel engaged and under power when you’re loading people. Make sure everybody is on the boat first before you engage the engines on the boat. That’s an important tip. It’s unfortunate we see propeller injuries sometimes in the boating accidents that we investigate. So, I want Wanted to cover, can we change captains for just a minute and maybe officer Dube you can come up here for just a minute and talk to me.

I’d like to go over that how to measure the lobster correctly. Just one more time. It’s important. It’s would you think that short lobsters, I mean, isn’t that probably one of the most. It’s the most uh popular citation in our office. That’s what I was trying to get to. Thank you.

10:18 - I’m just FWC but US Coast Guard and the Monroe County Sheriff They have all their marine units out assisting us today out here on the water but that’s probably the the most popular violation we come across is you know, undersized lobsters and a lot of the time is that’s uh people just improperly knowing how to measure em. So, I have my gauge. You need to have uh your your measuring device or your gauge in the water with you when you’re lobstering and I have uh a mold here and I’m gonna show you how to measure it.

The state law is you have the the or the head Right here, it needs to be greater than three inches, okay? So, slide your gauge in between the the two lobster horns and push that eye membrane down, okay? And if the gauge were to fall off the back of the lobster, it would be undersized. So, this is a healthy lobster. it’s a keeper. So, this one you can put in your catch bag after it’s probably measured. So, again, you wanna go in between the horns.

I don’t know if you can see that. Go up there in between the horns. Push that eye membrane down. If the gauge were to fall off the back, it would be centered undersize and have to immediately release that lobster uh back to its habitat. Thank you so much and just to clarify, people need to be measuring that lobster before they bring it on the boat, correct? Yes. Actually, you need to measure that lobster before it goes in your catch bag, dive bag, your BC, whatever you’re using to to hold those lobsters especially before it goes into the boat.

11:45 - It needs to be, it needs to be measured. Also, I like to instruct people uh occasionally even though it’s late in the season, you know, when you do catch a lobster, roll it over, look under the tailbage. It’s not an egg-bearing lobster.

11:56 - it’s very prong and it’ll have uh we call em buried lobsters.

11:59 - It’ll have orange or reddish like caviar looking material underneath the tail and those are millions and billions of eggs so you that thing you need to immediately release. Uh no matter the size of it, back into the wild. that is a very expensive citation. So, don’t get caught with a very lobster. It’s easy to see. Like I said, just flip the lobster over, look at the tail, and it’s very prominent and a video release it. That’s great and again, you can find out all that information on the couple of the other live videos I’ve done with officer Dube over the last couple of days and and another officer here at FWC.

We’ve showed you some pictures of what that egg-bearing female lobster looks like. It’s so important to the ecosystem. Millions of eggs. So, be sure you let that go and as officer Dube said, that’s a pretty hefty citation if you’re caught in possession of one of those.

12:47 - Yes, it is. So, thank you so much. So, I’m gonna pan over a little bit again just to give you a little look. We’ve got people kind of out recreating everywhere. You can see lots of boats in the distance uh on our Facebook Live or YouTube live rather that we did on uh Monday. We talked a little bit about habitat. You know, lobsters during the day are located in structure and during night, bully netting occurs here only in the Florida Keys and that’s more of uh of a lobster environment where they’re on the grassy flats.

13:19 - So, we just got a boat coming by us here. And just taking a look at at really the beautiful scenery. So, I’m actually gonna ask officer Dube, when you get a chance, can you come back up and I’m gonna hand you the camera because I wanna talk just briefly about some of that habitat-related issue. And just give some messaging. Sorry. Did you have a question? We’re running AA live but if you had a question, we can help you. In in the village of Altamata, yes.

Okay. Okay. Yes, it was. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. So, we aim to please.

14:00 - Yes, we do. So, again, what we do every day, not only are these officers at FWC law enforcement officers but they are so, they are also great sources of information and we like to help educate anybody that wants to ask a question.

14:17 - So, if you’re out here and you’re out on the waters, Bobby, can they flag someone down and ask him a question? Of course. Uh I haven’t had it to me a lot. You know, they wave us just like this gentleman did. You know, ask us a question or wave us down uh whether it’s via for a boating safety inspection or if they have a question about any fishing or lobster regulations. So, uh just cuz we’re in a boat doesn’t mean we can’t answer any questions.

So, it’s better to ask uh an officer uh than find out from a friend that really doesn’t know the laws or regulations and then find yourself uh you know, in a sticky situation. Absolutely and listen, if you need, you need an explanation on how to measure that lobster, ask. We’re happy to break out our gauges, that they carry and show you how to correctly measure that lobster as well. We did that a lot over the last 4 days at the lobster lobster information booth.

A lot of people from all over the continental United States from as far as Washington State coming down here to the Keys for Lobster Sports Season and you know, there’s a lot of first timers and they really had no idea what Florida lobster look like. A lot of them thought they had pinchers which those are the main lobsters and they had no idea how to measure lobsters. So, we did a lot of instruction on how to properly measure lobsters.

Uh the information. Yup and we did a great job. We wanna give a little shout out to Divers Direct. They’ve been a great partner for us through the years up in Key Largo. TDC and the sheriff’s office. Yup and the TDC which is here in Monroe County and the Sheriff’s Office and Coast Guard too. We’re all out here educating and enforcing the lobster regulations. Um so, we appreciate all that help from partners. So, I’m gonna give.

15:48 - Oh, hi. We’ve got some folks. We’re running a live. So, hey.

15:59 - Well, that was awesome. Yes, and we had and you worked a couple days at the Law Officer Information booth with me and we get a lot of that. A lot of people appreciate not just FWC but law enforcement throughout the country and and and we can never hear enough of that. Yup. Agreed. Agreed. So, I’m gonna give you the camera and I’m gonna actually get on the camera for just a second. So, Bobby, can you see me? I can see you. Okay, awesome.

Hey, everybody. Carol Lyn Parrish with FWC. I’m the public information coordinator here in the South Region and the Keys is one of the areas that I cover and I’m I’m lucky and and blessed to be in this position.

16:34 - That being said, I wanna talk just briefly a little bit about Habitat. If you’ve been following us at all, you know I’ve been talking about the Florida Coral Crew and Florida’s Coral Reef Track. Remember, if you’re out here anytime in the Florida Keys, whether it’s during lobster season or it’s just you’re down here recreating because we’ve got a lot to do down here. The reef track is 360 miles long.

16:57 - It’s suffering from stony coral tissue loss disease. We need your help just to get engaged, get educated, find out what’s going on with the disease, find out what FWC, our official wildlife research institute, all the partner agencies, all the other partners that are not governmental such as Moat Marine Lab here in the Florida Keys, DEP, Florida’s Coral Reef is what we’re talking about. Get engaged, get involved, join the coral crew.

If you’re out here, anytime in the Keys on the Reef Track, please rent your dive keys keep a fresh water rinse on the boat. Just a five-gallon bucket. Rate your dive here between sites. Don’t anchor on or north or near the coral reef. Super important for that. Um don’t touch the coral.

17:44 - Right here in the east, we are growing healthy coral to reef place where the disease has come through the reef tract.

17:51 - So, if you see healthy coral, you might in fact be seeing science and work. It might be on a piece of seamen. It might be a fix to the reef. Equally important please don’t touch that brand-new coral. We’re doing science and last but not the least, a great tip is always use environmentally-friendly sunscreen. So, we’re just asking you to keep that in mind, join the Florida Coral crew, get involved, and you know, help us preserve and restore this really important ecosystem here at the Florida Reef Track.

Remember, you can go to Florida’s Coral Reef. You can go to FL Coral Crew. com and you can find out everything you need to know about what’s going on. So, I just want to add that. Bobby, I appreciate it. I’ll take the camera back from you. Thank you, sir. And I’m coming over. I think we’ve covered everything but I’m actually gonna ask you to switch places with the other officer so she can come over and I’m gonna ask her one thing before we wrap up.

18:48 - Officer Peska, how are you? I’m doing well. You’re doing well.

18:52 - Yes, thank you for joining us. Um and you know, you were here in the Keys for a period of time, huh? How many years did you work in the Keys? About five years. About five years.

19:03 - So, you’ve done this lobster season at least 5 years and you’re back for another. Yes, ma’am. Can’t stay away, right? Oh, man. That’s awesome because we need people that are absolutely educated about the keys down here. So, you mentioned in your introduction that you are, what position as well? I’m the recruiter for the South Room in Bravo. So, I recruit for Miami Dade, Monroe County, and Collier County.

19:25 - Awesome and by recruiter, you’re recruiting for FWC law enforcement, right? Yes, ma’am. They’re law enforcement positions. So, if you are interested in becoming a law enforcement officer or you know someone that does uh want to become one, they should get in contact with me. you can go to my SABC dot com. there’s gonna be a link to talk to a recruiter, fill out that information, and either I or someone else around the state will get a hold of you.

Sounds good. There’s lots of information there at that link but the recruiter is the first stop. If you’re interested in coming down here and getting involved in this really awesome job of being an FWC law enforcement, coming down here to the Keys and we brought in officers from around the state for this enforcement because it’s so popular of an event.

20:10 - But get involved, join FWC, talk to a recruiter, and if you’re in Miami Dade, Monroe, or Collier Counties, Officer Peska is who your person is for the recruiter and you can information online. Thank you so much. Yes, ma’am. Alright.

20:24 - So, I’m gonna wrap up folks. Just giving you a little quick one more glance. We’ve got people out here recreating people travelling through the area that we’re in. Everybody is out for the most part looking for lobster. And we hope you are out as well, enjoying the day and if you’re here in the Florida Keys, be safe. Keep an eye out. Keep your dive flag up and have a great lobster season.

21:21 - Your dive slide down if you guys are done. .