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. humtake

    Um, blue lobsters have been around for a long time and you can buy them at some of the upper scale restaurants. They aren't as special as this article is making them out to be.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      thats not true. you can't order blue lobsters in a restaurant, they are too rare for a restaurant to have them in stock. and when you cook them, they turn the same color as any other lobsters.
      source: myself (marine biologist)

      June 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • wildone

      Last time I was in Maryland I ordered Blue crab soup and had to send it back because it wasn't "blue". Sheesh!! The way they treat out-of-towners!

      June 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DDSilks

    I think it should be donated to an aquarium to live out its life.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Robert

    put it in an aquarium; there's one in the Booth Bay (Maine) aquarium

    June 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert

    aquarium. Booth Bay aquarium has one

    June 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tomatoe

    Left the poor thing go....Probably has a home and a family somewhere missing him/her

    June 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. scott

    Shows you how intelligent CNN is as a news reporting agency, it's KIJIJI.CA, not kajiji. Do some research before you report.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lori

    Just put it back in the ocean to live out it's life, it started there let it end there

    June 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rufus

    If Obama had a lobster, it would look like this one.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steven T.

    My guess is he went trapping in an airplane's toilet or a porta-potty.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jay V

    If this blue lobster is sent back to the ocean it's most likely that it will get caught again and we'll be reading a similar story like this one on CNN or maybe that lobster won't get so lucky next time and actually end up on someone's dinner plate.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Everett

      What an excellent philosophy. We should just kill everything we see then since someone else is going to do it if we don't.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MOCaseA

    I bet you it tastes just like any other lobster. I'd like to see it on my plate, next to a dish of garlic butter. YUM!

    June 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Everett

    Has no one ever heard of catch and release??? Take a picture and let it go so it can spread its genes. Why must humans slaughter or imprison everything they encounter?

    June 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • max3333444555

      like the football players say - Gotta Eat!

      June 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Eric

    I bet it still turns red when you boil it. Fire up the burners and get ready for a tasty treat!!

    June 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. freedomringingnow

    Catch and release odd ones of rarity. Put him back in his surrondings.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Shanana

    There is a Lab in Montauk, NY that Studies Blue Lobsters, have beed doing it for years

    June 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
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