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. Ken

    I'd say put it in an aquarium and breed it if possible. But please do not eat/kill it. I'd pay $200 and give it the aquarium here in Baltimore MD for others to enjoy it's wonder.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. NO

    Call me cruel but all this lobster talk makes me want to boil it, drench it in butter and make my tastebuds dance for joy all on a trail to my tummy 🙂

    June 12, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • lou

      thats very funny

      June 12, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Redbones

    Will it turn red when you boil it?

    June 12, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cinman

    Better to quickly kill and have with butter than for it to die by the beak of an octopus.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. JL

    Whatever you do, don't be intimidated by what people from the internet world say to you. Most have zero brains and even less compassion.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. SCG

    Is it REALLY that rare? I've had more than one blue lobster as a pet when I was young. I bought them from Elmer's Aquarium in Pittsburgh, PA. Were they being spray painted blue or what?

    June 12, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gail

    Lobsters come in alll colors – the Indigo Blue is abou 1 in 1Million. Donate to Aquarium for others to enjoy and learn about.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. werthrough

    Take a lot of pictures of it and THROW IT BACK!

    June 12, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. David Sagaser

    Yeah dude...THANKS for sharing, but please put it back in the ocean. Now that it's been on cnn, the story and the pics will live forever more on the intertube! 🙂

    June 12, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. JK

    Eat it, I bet it tastes yummy

    June 12, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nom

    To all the bleeding hearts who are freaking out about this 1 lobster... what about the other 2,999 he caught that day?

    June 12, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. JKaren

    Hold onto it! Don't kill it! Give it to the CN Tower Aquarium in Toronto or the Toronto Zoo for display!! If its that rare.. why put it back in the ocean, and lets learn how incredible this animal is.. and share its beauty with the world! I too would buy it on kajiji for 200.00 and give it to an aquarium!! That's just awesome!

    June 12, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jon

    In 1991 a friend of mine caught a blue ecrevisse (a miniature lobster) while fishing in Lac Simon, Quebec. An extreme rarity but a genetic possibility.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. matt

    Lobsterman from maine here. These blue lobsters are rare but not as rare as you think, there is one caught every year it seems. The blue lobster is actually the most common of the rare colors, there is also yellow, orange and white lobsters too and all of them are a lot more rare. And to answer the answer to if it turns red when you boil it is yes.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rabbit One

    ain't that just neat

    June 12, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
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