A father and son from South Carolina received 10 citations on Friday in the Keys for violations that included taking lobsters out of season.
Lobster mini-season opens Wednesday. And Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay is warning visitors and residents that deputies will be on alert for the inevitable false starters.
But it was spearing lobsters, an illegal activity at any time of the year, that the sheriff’s office says drew the attention of Marine Deputy Wilfredo Guerra to Peter Verdi, 52, and 18-year-old Isaac Verdi.
Guerra pulled his Yamaha Waverunner up to Verdi’s boat near Toms Harbor Channel Bridge at mile marker 60.5 and checked out the family’s dive bags.
“Both bags revealed a total of eight undersized, illegally wrung and out-of-season lobster,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “An inspection of their cooler revealed four more speared and undersized mangrove snapper.”
Among the citations, aside from illegally taking lobster and spearing lobster: no fishing license, no lobster endorsements and no dive flag.