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. BasicJustice

    It was nice to see at least 3 posters had some empathy for the creature.

    June 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cpc65

    I doubt the captain's exact words were Holy "smoke", but something close to that. Also, regarding the calico lobster story, I was just at that RI aquarium (Biomes) on Mother's Day with my folks and brother. It's a small, privately owned (by the guy in the video) aquarium that contains local marine life caught off the coast of RI and MA. Some of the species get carried up from down south by the Gulf Stream current. The place is really neat if you can find it. It's a couple miles down a back country road, so get directions and their hours online first.

    June 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpc65

      Oh, yeah. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts it's pronounced "Lobsta".

      June 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • FesterNScab

      In Sweden, we call em loobsters.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Pat

    I wonder if the aquarium at Monterrey Bay, California would like to have the blue lobster. They are kind and responsible to their sea creatures. This aquarium began with Mr Packard's (of Hewlett & Packard) private funding. He also created the wave machine that is in the kelp aquarium. His daughter (a marine biologist) at the time worked with others to prepare the aquarium for public viewing. It's a wonderful place. When I lived in California, I would visit there just to watch the albino octopus and also the fascinating Nautilus bob about. I believe the blue lobster would fit in well there.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alfredo

    Let him live! Set Mr Blue free.....

    June 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kimberly

    Contact the Atlanta Aquarium!

    June 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Quebec

    Quebecois Lobster

    June 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NGreen

    Yea to Mr. Stoddard for keeping the lobster alive!! It would be interesting to give him to a qualified aquarium for breeding purposes. Maybe some lbaby blue lobsters. I can't understand why people want to kill all creatures,

    June 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. terabrit

    Maybe IBM would like to sponsor it? Takes one Big Blue to appreciate another

    June 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kinne

    How about just putting it back in the ocean!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 13, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jamjki

    I have a pinstripped lobster that can hula.

    June 13, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • FesterNScab

      I have a polka dot lobster that can save the American economy, but I'm too poor to feed him.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. don

    It's like the albino of the lobster world.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. FesterNScab

    Send it to me, I am a loobster chef!

    June 14, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. FesterNScab

    Loobster, loobster, loobster.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. JDR2010

    Fester...Not so fast...I would pay to see that thing in a museum (aquarium of the pacific perhaps) and rather than cook it, why not breed it with other lobsters and stark an entirely new market in the lobster business selling Blue lobster? You could even go on the TV show Shark Tank and ask the Sharks for money!

    June 14, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Anex

    It is indeed really pretty. He does belong back in the ocean, but simultaneously I think him being an an aquarium (the big aquatic zoos, not a little tank) would also be nice so he can be seen.

    That's a really pretty shade of blue.

    June 14, 2012 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
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