A catch straight out of the deep blue sea
Canadian lobsterman Bobby Stoddard caught this rare blue lobster in early May. He's not sure what to do with it.
June 11th, 2012
09:46 PM ET

A catch straight out of the deep blue sea

A rare event is said to happen once in a blue moon. But a blue moon has nothing on a blue lobster.

Canadian lobster boat captain Bobby Stoddard said he and his crew were hauling in their lobster traps one day in early May when one of the men called out, "Hey, we got a pretty one in this trap!"

"I turned around and said, 'Holy smoke!' " said Stoddard, 51, of Clarks Harbour, Nova Scotia.

In the trap with three other, ordinary greenish-brown lobsters was a remarkably bright blue one, the first lobster of that hue Stoddard had seen in his 33 years of fishing for a living.

"This is the only one that I've ever seen," he told CNN. "And my dad has been a lobsterman of about 55 years, and he caught one about 45 years ago, but hadn't seen one since."

Bobby Stoddard, lobster hunter

Stoddard captains one lobster boat, his father another, and his three brothers work with them. On a good day, they haul in about 3,000 of the crustaceans, he said. Multiply that times 33 seasons, and that's a lot of lobsters. But only one blue one.

According to the University of Maine Lobster Institute, blue lobsters are a one-in-2-million phenomenon. A genetic variation causes the lobster to produce an excessive amount of a particular protein that gives it that azure aspect.

Stoddard offered his find (a male, by the way) to a nearby ocean research institute, but "they didn't seem too interested," he said.

His girlfriend pushed him to offer it for sale for on the classified-ad site Kajiji.com, he said. Having no idea what the market for a 1.5-pound blue lobster might be, he priced it at $200.

"I wanted to put a number high enough on it so nobody would be interested in it," Stoddard confessed.

However, he said he started to get some "weird" phone calls and e-mails scolding him for trying to sell such a rare creature, so he canceled the ad.

"I'm kind of a shy guy," he said. "When things get controversial, I kind of go hide. This is what I do for a living; I catch lobsters and sell them. I'm just trying to do the right thing. I thought, 'I just don't need this hassle.' "

For now, the cerulean crustacean is residing comfortably in a nice, cold holding tank at Stoddard's business, feeding on bits of fish and mollusks as normal. A massive aquarium is under construction near the CN Tower in Toronto, but Stoddard hasn't decided whether to offer his specimen for display there.

"I don't know what the best thing is to do," he said. "It probably belongs back in the ocean, but I'd like for as many people as possible to see it."

Related stories:

Blue lobsters aren't the only rare ones - what about calico lobsters?

And then of course, there are always really, really big lobsters as well.

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Filed under: Animals • Canada • Food • Lobsters • Science
soundoff (593 Responses)
  1. Peter

    Don't be an effeminate wussy. Eat it!

    June 12, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    Equally rare: a nice guy not thinking purely about money.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • John N

      And this is why they should enable likes for this forum. I honestly don't know why some CNN articles allow it and some don't. But yeah, good for him! I hope the aquarium takes it.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Craig

    How about just letting it go so that it can create more blue lobsters?

    June 12, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Zoe

    I think the lobster should be put in an aquarium if they want it kept alive. Blue lobsters aren't as protected from predators because they are easier to spot. It would live longer in a decent aquarium.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. AP

    Gotta be a civic aquarium somewhere near that would take care of it. Cool creature.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. karen civitarese

    why not offer it to the New England Aquarium in Boston, Ma. I'm sure they will take good care of it.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. Krusty

    Take it deep into the woods and set it free to enjoy the bounty of nature.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. D. Lenz

    That poor lobster, he was probably shunned by all the other lobsters for being different. Now he's on the front page of CNN. "Were you ever on CNN, I bet not, MARCUS!"

    June 12, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. Cadrian

    Breed it.... They live for a 100 years, you have time to figure it out. I wouldn't sell it to be eaten though, that's a waste of such a rare creature.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    I like the idea of a nice cozy aquarium for the rest of his retirement.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. indfl

    This guy sounds like a nice fella. He just wants to do the right thing. I wonder what color it would turn if you cook him? Purple?

    June 12, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Thor

    Biology graduate students around the United States are scheming all kinds of research projects.... I can't believe not a single one has not contacted this gentleman to collect DNA, reproductive material, et cetera; in order to map the genetic code in an attempt to reproduce these bea

    June 12, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. CommonSense

    The carpet choice really brings out its eyes. Good choice!

    June 12, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. gran

    Please Read!! The Audobon Center in Bristol, Rhode Island accepts and houses rare specimens that local lobstermen(women) give them. If there isn't too much work with customs, this guy could get a green card and come here. He's beautiful!

    June 12, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gene

    Lenny Lobster is wondering what all the fuss is about. So he got into mom's makeup. It's not murder.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Rock Lobster!

      Why not put him in the same tank as the Calico lobster, which was caught not too long ago?

      June 12, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
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