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. krehator

    Breed it.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Strange1

      I don't know about that. With all those pincers it could hurt me.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gezellig

    I agree, keep it alive and let people view it. But I do have several questions: (1) Would its meat taste different? (2) When cooked, would the shell turn red, or some other color?, and (3) Could other blue lobsters be produce through breeding this one? As to this last question, lobster farming has generally not been successful, so I doubt it.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. J__M__M

    I saw a blue lobster at an aquarium in Maine in about 1980... and here I didn't know how special I've been this whole time. Tomorrow I start making up for all that lost time.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. GatorALLin

    I would think some private aquarium or fish tank fan would Love to pay only $200 for a lobster as rare as this one! Maybe one of the larger aquariums open to the public would pay 10x that or more to add to their collection and help protect it for a lifetime. If he releases it back into the wild it may just get caught again and not be lucky enough to be separated from the big tanks that end up in restaurants. I am surprised someone who wants to breed these would not find a way to create this rare blue one for others to enjoy.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gezellig

    Given the nature of the lobster’s brain and nervous system, it’s hard to imagine it suffering much pain when quickly plunged into boiling water. Just because you and I would feel pain if this was done to us, does not mean that a lobster does. However, one technique you can use when cooking lobster if it gives you comfort is to put them on a pan between layers of wet paper towels and put them in the refrigerator. This is the recommended way to keep lobsters alive until ready to cook, and it makes them lethargic. If straight from the store, I have heard they can be put into the freezer for 25 minutes just before cooking.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. rh

    Often a public aquarium would take it as a donation and keep him on display.

    June 13, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Greg

    People who keep aquariums will pay 30 dollars or more for a blue crawdad. Why not breed it?

    June 13, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Denise

    put it back...?

    June 13, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Nighthhaaawk

    It's a mutant...it's the X-MEN of lobsters!!!

    June 13, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. erik

    OK thank you so much for letting us all see. Please return to his home so maybe he will make more. He is not special at all if he can not pass that on.

    June 13, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. A. Reynoso

    Put it back in the ocean where it belongs. We will all survive if we don't see a blue lobster in our lifetime.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. vatoloke

    Democrats are everywhere I guess.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ned

    Release it.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moiphy

      Nay, nay, this is a capitalist country...........he must sell it. Don't even think about donating it.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Leena

    He should have taken a couple of pictures and let it go. It's rare because people are stupid.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. laughing alot420

    Make a facebook page for it. Let it find lots of friends and get poked around a bit.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
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