RE: BOCC May 20, 2020 Agenda Item J1 – 2020 Mini Lobster Season

Dear Mayor and Commissioners:

Last Stand recommends that the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) vote to cancel the 2020 Mini Lobster Season.

The COVID-19 virus has changed many aspects of our lives and the impending removal of the County’s roadblocks will again bring another change to our daily lives.  County residents have followed the County and State directives these last few months, resulting in the low number of people infected by the virus.  Bringing tourists back to the Keys should be a phased undertaking to ensure that proper measures are being taken to reduce the risk of a new spike in COVID-19 cases.  Every event previously held in the Keys should be evaluated to determine if our residents’ health and natural resources would benefit from temporarily postponing the event. 

The Mini Lobster Season does bring tourists to our County for two days.  One has to assess if these two days are worth stressing our natural environment that has been recouping from overuse and potentially increasing the number of virus cases. There is no guarantee that the number of divers and guests will be as large as in previous years due to the economic challenges faced by many people. There is no way to determine if the revenue generated by the Mini Season will be worth the expenses to the County and State to ensure that it is a safe Season.

The benefits of cancelling this year’s Mini Lobster Season (i.e. controlling the number of visitors, protecting citizens from potential risks due to the virus, preserving our natural resources) out weigh any unknown revenue that may occur from the visitors. 

Continue your leadership in helping us to recover and rebuild our County. Evaluate every event and phase in the number of visitors.  The potential costs of having a 2020 Mini Lobster Season do not compare to the benefit of postponing it.

The Last Stand Board