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. Samara

    Willy?? Nooooo gotta be Blue Dew!!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Doug

    Give it to a public aquarium, With the proviso that they have it mounted upon it's demise, for display for all to wonder at. It may possibly arouse interest in exploration of the seas that cover much of our planet. It will probably live a longer healthier life in captivity and will have great entertainment looking back at the humanoids.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. trix

    That is seriously the most beautiful lobster I have ever seen. Can I borrow it for my wedding? It'd take care of "something borrowed" and "something blue", and I promise I wouldn't eat it!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Andrew Hall

    Breed it!!!!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mary L

    There must be an aquarium or zoo that would be interested. It is really very cool and shouldn't be in just one person's home. What about Sea World? Or maybe the upcoming aquarium in Toronto? San Diego Zoo? Bronx Zoo? It's really very, very cool!!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Itsonlyme

    It's a wild animal... Put it back where it came from!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • rswon

      That's probably the most intelligent statement I've seen. The natural evolution of a species requires genetic mutations to be created. Unfortunately, every time a human finds one of these genetic mutations, he/she/they decide to keep it. Our own curiosity could be disrupting a natural progression.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Carolyn

    The admiration he will recieve at an aquarium will make his rare life worthwhile, plus he won't have to spend his time searching for food or defending himself. He will have a stress free life. Perhaps they will find him a suitable mate...I wonder if the babies will be purple?

    June 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary L

    What about the guys from the TV show "Tanked" on Animal Planet? What about contacting Animal Planet and see what they suggest?

    June 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. freshnewblog


    June 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sparknut

    If I remember correctly, there was a research project in Maine to breed lobster and release tiny lobsters into the sea to increase the number available to be caught. They used blue lobsters for this project, anticipating an increase in the number of blue lobsters as proof that it was working. Apparently it didn't work, if blue lobsters are still so rare.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. donleonado

    "Very pretty" someone offerred. It's a cobalt blue lobster for Pete's sake. It is a warning. We have totally munged up the oceans. Sound all hands on deck. Or am I overreacting? It's a pretty blue lobster. No big thing.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cookie...

    Just dye some butter with some red food colouring and have the strangest dinner ever... (Yes I actually know that a coloured lobster would still cook up red – the pigmentation of the shell does not affect it's cooked colour, but it would be the strangest thing I've ever seen on a plate...)...

    Seriously – what did the Fisherman's father do with the first one ? Throw it back ? or....

    June 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bubba


    June 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rawmoney2012

    Make a LobsterCopter out of it.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. occupyourbodies

    Please – release it!!!

    June 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
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