Each month Sea Grant provides a list of local seafood species that are currently in peak season. Some species are regulated differently in different states so even though it may be listed as being in peak season – the reader should check with local state agencies to determine if there are any current regulations that would keep this product from being sold at this time. Here is the list for the month of August.
Always in Peak Season –
Clams – which are cultured in Florida waters.
Snapper are also listed as always being in peak season – but these are regulated so you should check your state fisheries management agency’s website for the current status of snapper.
Summer Species No Longer in Peak Season –
Crawfish, Mahi-Mahi, Pink Shrimp, Yellowtail Snapper
Current Species –
Flounder, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Yellowfin Tuna, and three species of shrimp: brown, white, and rock.
New Species –
This is a south Florida favorite. Hundreds of divers have descended on the Florida Keys to get their quota of this popular shellfish.
Spiny lobsters are actually found throughout the Caribbean, north to North Carolina, south to Brazil, and much of the Gulf of Mexico. Also known as the Florida Lobster and as the Caribbean Lobster, the Spiny Lobster differs from the Maine Lobster in that the claws (chelipeds) are MUCH smaller and the two large antenna are much larger with a thicker layer of chitin covering them. They begin life as pelagic plankton in the open ocean. Their larval stages are numerous (11) and take a long time to complete (almost 12 months). They do eventually settle out and migrate into coastal waters where they seek mangroves and macroalgae beds. Here they develop into juveniles and eventually adults. They are most common around structure and are night time foragers – seeking prey such as snails, clams, and crustaceans. They eventually move to the nearshore reefs where divers enjoy harvesting them during the legal season. There is also a commercial fishery for them.