Where Do Lobsters Migrate to from South Florida?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lobstercatcher229's Avatar
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    Where Do Lobsters Migrate to from South Florida?

    I am curious if anyone knows where the lobsters go that migrate from South Florida in October.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
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    I do know they cross the Gulf Stream --- Also one night back in the early seventies, we were dipping shrimp in the Key Largo Channel and all of a sudden hundreds of thousands of lobsters came thru that channel on the outgoing tide. It actually looked like you could walk across the channel "on the lobsters"!!! They ran thru there solid for about two hours.

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    I hear Cancun is nice this time of year.

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    Senior Member barrynfla's Avatar
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    I believe the CIA uses them to transport secret messages to Cuba.

  5. #5
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    Many find their way to my dinner table... They bring their own butter too..!!

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    I've often wondered the same thing. Here is an interesting fact to add to the discussion. In SC and north, you NEVER see undersized lobsters. We aren't required to carry a measuring device there. I've been diving for 7 years now, and every single lobster that I have ever seen there or any of my dive friends has been WAY legal. Average size for us is probably in the 4-6lb range with many catches in the 8+lb range. I probably catch 3-4 each year that are 9-10lbs and we got 1 a few years ago at 14lbs. Most of the legal lobsters down here would be on the smaller end of harvest in Charleston. But... They DO mate up there, and carry eggs. How on Earth could they lay all of those billions of eggs and NEVER see an undersized lobster in Charleston? It seems that logically, these eggs laid in Charleston are not "productive". They either drift off, die off in the winter, or never hatch to begin with. I don't know of any major currents around SC other than the Gulfstream and I've never seen that head South before... Also, we have way fewer lobster than you guys do overall. Since we only see big\old lobsters and no babies, that would seem to suggest that these lobsters are migrating from somewhere else over the course of several years. You guys have WAY MORE and smaller ones, so you must be a lot closer to the nursery\origin. Another interesting thing is that you never see lobsters in Charleston shallower than 75' (really 80'), which is odd since you can get them in Florida in 5' of water. For us, the 150' ledge is 50 miles offshore, so my guess is that these guys literally just walk up the continental shelf and eventually move inland. They seem to get the big boys up in NC as well. Ours are pretty reddish in color and in NC, they seem a little darker (almost cherry or brown) than ours...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Permit Rat's Avatar
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    That IS very interesting. I have always dived for lobsters in the Keys and never up where I live now in Stuart. I'm just not a big fan of lobster meat (spoiled by the Maine lobster) and just get a few tails for visiting friends. But even as far south as Stuart, the lobsters are much bigger. I do not know if "shorts" are as prevalent here as in the Keys, but they also are mostly diving at least a little deeper than in the Keys also.

    Hell, It was news to me that the "Florida" lobster made it as far north as South Carolina and North Carolina. Do you ever see one or two of the northern lobsters (ones with claws) that far south? I have always wondered how far south they ranged.

  8. #8
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    Another unanswered question is why, in over 30 years, I have NEVER seen an egg bearing female in the Florida Bay? We have caught thousands in the bay and never seen an egg bearing female. In contrast, after the first week or two of the season, a large percentage of lobster in Hawks Channel & the patch reefs will have eggs.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Permit Rat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinneej View Post
    I've often wondered the same thing. Here is an interesting fact to add to the discussion. In SC and north, you NEVER see undersized lobsters. We aren't required to carry a measuring device there. I've been diving for 7 years now, and every single lobster that I have ever seen there or any of my dive friends has been WAY legal. Average size for us is probably in the 4-6lb range with many catches in the 8+lb range. I probably catch 3-4 each year that are 9-10lbs and we got 1 a few years ago at 14lbs. Most of the legal lobsters down here would be on the smaller end of harvest in Charleston. But... They DO mate up there, and carry eggs. How on Earth could they lay all of those billions of eggs and NEVER see an undersized lobster in Charleston? It seems that logically, these eggs laid in Charleston are not "productive". They either drift off, die off in the winter, or never hatch to begin with. I don't know of any major currents around SC other than the Gulfstream and I've never seen that head South before.
    That is a very good possibility. I know this happens with other fish species. For example, the brown trout in the southern tier of their range, will go through the normal mating/spawning process. But the water is too warm and the eggs "burn out," meaning that they develop too fast and die. Some different set of circumstances could be contributing to lobster egg mortality.

  10. #10
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    In SC, we do not see any Maine lobsters. The only species that I have ever seen or heard of being taken recrationally is Spiny and Slipper (from the link above it looks most like the "ridged shovelnose").

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