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. ironwolf56

    Sadly they probably caught it off Maine waters. The government has no problem with severely limiting Maine citizens a license while gladly allowing Canadians to fish our waters instead.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mork

      you mean like the Americans just did, ending a 31 year old treaty on the west coast Tuna fishery and banning Canada from coming south of the border to fish? You mean like that? is that what you mean?

      June 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jerry

    I'll bring the butter!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JustMe

    As odd as lobsters look, this one is actually pretty! I wonder if the bits of tail and claw that are usually orangey after cooking would also be blue in this guy.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. little flap

    Wow! What color does it turn when cooked?

    June 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emigdio Alvarez

      Glow-in-the-Dark Green

      June 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. blue4s

    How lucky for you Mr. Stoddard (and your family, crew etc.) to have seen and experienced this
    rare lobster in your catch.
    It;s nice of you to want to share it to the world. Your catch is yours.
    Now some of the people have seen it through CNN.

    Pls. try send him back to the ocean..... it's home to the rare crustacean.
    That symbiotic organism needs it's environment.
    Though rare as it may be and not knowing what to do with it is ...it can't last in the tank you have for it. Or can it?
    There are many marine biologists, marine and oceanic organizations who may want to take care and study it.

    The blogger of his article can probably help you out.
    YES? NO ? CNN ?

    June 11, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • works4me

      I agree... set it free!

      June 11, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hadenuffyet

    There goes the neighborhood....

    June 11, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. works4me

    I wonder who was the first person that looked at one of these and said "Man, that looks good. I think I'll eat it"

    June 11, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hadenuffyet

      Nope..blue food is not appealing..

      June 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bobbi

    i would like to see more photos...large ones...

    June 11, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Zooni

    Sell the bugger to the highest bidder. They will either eat it of treat it like a king. Just because your blue doesn't mean you deserve special treatment. If people are complaining about the treatment of this lobster, remind them they probably have eaten a few in their lives.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. aony

    Eww a blue lobster? I wonder what it tastes like..? Gross probably...

    June 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • ironwolf56

      They taste exactly the same as any other lobster.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sarah

    I vote for let it go.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric the actor

    Ack ack, I want to mate with it!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kavitha Vasan

    Please PLEASE set it free in the ocean .....it belongs to the sea .

    June 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. little flap

    I Wonder if it tastes different from a common colored lobster!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rb philbrook

    Please don't give up at the first empty aquarium response trap. It will be a star attraction somewhere, and the millions who will see and admire it will all then vote for keeping the ocean's lobster population healthy for permanent. Your blue lobster will be an ambassador for ocean health- and bigger harvests over the long term- the same as the dolphins in aquariums have been the #1 spokespersons for wild dolphin welfare- and ocean well-being in general. Be brave- this is a once in a generation call to duty for the world's good- by you. You sound like a really good person, so we hope you will perform this one task for us all. Thanks already for the great view experience! Millions of people already elevated.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • lewtwo

      I totally agree. I think BigBlue should go to some kind of marine facility where he/she will live a long life ... perhaps even produce some little blues (can you breed lobsters?).

      June 11, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
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