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.

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Canada • Food • Lobsters • Science
soundoff (593 Responses)
  1. T Le

    The Week magazine had an article about finding a blue lobster about 5 YEARS AGO! Yes, It is cool. End of story. 🙂

    June 12, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lizabeth

    I refuse to ever eat a lobster. They are wonderful creatures, however tasty. The way they are prepared is so barbaric. How could any thinking human being want to boil anything ALIVE. I will stick to tuna.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Actually, Liz, I prefer to steam them. Less water inside when you crack them open. I also tend to shy away from the melted butter bath. Kind of ruins the lobster's natural sweet flavor. Makes me wish I was in Maine right now!

      June 12, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Chefs use a knife before steaming them. No better or worse than how most animals we eat are killed.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      Yes, Lizabeth, because clubbing, freezing and suffocating crushing is so much better than boiling. I suggest you become a vegan if you don't like the way your food is killed.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • heathnav

      I hate to rain on your soap box. But.. Tuna are pulled from the sea with hooks in their mouths then dragged on to a boat with larger hooks. Left to suffocate, outside of their oxygen source (water). Then put on ice to keep them fresh until they get to the market where they are stripped of their skin and chopped up, so you can throw them on a grill. Wow, that sounds much more humane. (That is sarcasm, in case you couldn't tell).

      June 12, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Seamus Callan

    I knew it...the color of ones shell does change the way you are looked at!

    June 12, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. intexas

    The lobster is a whole safer being at the aquarium, for people/children to see than sending back to the ocean and later end up at somebodys den table. Who knows maybe someday I may visit the aquarium to see it.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. mysteriousbrain


    There should be no question about it! Everyone can see the picture, that's enough! We don't need to visit him in a tank, where he'll die sooner rather than later.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lizabeth

    The way they are prepared is so barbaric. Boiled alive!!! Anyone who would eat one should die the same way. Karma!

    June 12, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Liz, see my reply above to your other statement.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Homer Simpson

    Mmmmm... Blue Lobster.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Pinchy's blue brother. Hope he doesn't acidentally end up like Pinchy!!

      June 12, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. mysteriousbrain

    SET HIM FREE do the right thing

    June 12, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. mysteriousbrain

    FREE WILLY!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Me

    Thats an awesome blue lobster. Hopefully the person who caught the lobster will get a reward fee. for finding and being able to educate the world of science.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. Valkyrie

    I think he should donate the lobster to an aquarium. The lobster is a lesson in natural genetic diversification. Also, this rare lobster could help raise awareness of the need to conserve lobsters and their native habitats, to protect not only the lobsters but also the lobster fishermen and their industry.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Everyone needs money and why not profit off educating the world. I think its a great idea if possible to put the calico and the blue together for an amazing display. Its not like profiting off another person misfortune. Let the guy get rich. Its not like he made a false 2 Million dollar tax return and the govt doesn't mind.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sandusky Sandwich

    Lobster Sandwich

    June 12, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    Either sell it to an aquarium, and I'm sure that some of them would like to have it to display, or release. Simple decision.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. vatoloke

    I guess lobsters get the blues also.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    Offer it up to an aquarium or put it back in the ocean.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • sam

      Nice piece of commentary, captain obvious. Did you read the article? Those are, indeed, the same options Mr. Stoddard arrived at himself. Very astute of you!

      June 12, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27