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. mickey1313

    Is pretty much the same as an albino

    June 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Randy Carter

    Can't they breed it and get more! It would be cool!

    June 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mz. O

    What a beautiful and rare find! This is an extraordinary gift to you and the world. Please put this miraculous creature somewhere where it will be pampered and admired by many. Perhaps a reputable aquarium somewhere in the world, safe from predators and especially fishing nets! He may not be so lucky the next time he's caught 🙂 Thank you for sharing your photo.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. guest

    you gotta put it back in the ocean so i can reproduce somewhere or you will cause this rare lobster's genome to never get passed down and we'll never see a blue lobster again :(. Give it back to nature and let the genome exist on in nature.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      @guest, it would only pass on this anomaly if it bred with smith azure lobster. Is a statistical anomaly, and while pretty, it is not a beneficial mutation, because it makes it more visible to predators

      June 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dude


      June 12, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. mahdeealoo

    Put it back. Let it reproduce and make more. It may be the last one. Ever.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kalamazood

    It should be accepted by any number of aquariums across the country, as long as they keep the melted butter in the cafeteria.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Juan H

    Sell it on eBay.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fried lobster chunks

    Looks delicious!

    June 11, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Troy

    It's kijiji.ca, not kajiji.com.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. guesswho22

    Sell it to an aquarium that displays rare and endangered species and hybrids like this. Make some money, that's why you trap lobsters anyways, for a living. It can reproduce in a well stocked aquarium and hopefully produce more of these beautiful wonders of nature. Besides, if someone else is lucky enough to catch it if you return it to the sea, what will they do with it? Eat it? Sell it? Throw it back? Ya never know

    June 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. helphealblueh2os

    Seriously...the rare blue crustacean gets his airtime, news time and all comments.
    Necessary ones...LEAVE HIM BE IN the ocean or...get some organization, oceanic folks,
    marine enviro-researchers, biologists and the like to see what can be done.

    Otherwise..the "SHY guy" just got his 15 mins. of fame.
    I hope he's happy, since no one would buy it.
    So shy he got his info out here.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. samnet45

    Put it in that new tank. It can live longer than we can in captivity.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Alex

    Mmmmmmm... Just add a little drawn butter with lemon.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. T. E. Lawrence O. A.

    HOW can a Lobster Fisherman fail to recognize THE GREAT WHITE BUFFALO of Lobsters – PRICELESS OMEN!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. susie

    PLEASE put it back where it belongs. How would you feel to be taken from your comfort zone to be put on exhibition – most likely to have your natural life span compromised? MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE – you'll live at peace with yourself for the rest of your life.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • really??

      great point. Lobsters so great benevolence by not retaliating against us

      June 12, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • wealthcoaches

      Perhaps you missed the part where he said that he was a LOBSTER FISHERMAN? Put it back where it belongs? It belongs on my place with a nice side of drawn butter and maybe some corn.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You dont go fishing do you?

      June 12, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • King of the ocean

      Its a lobster, its probably eating better now then it ever has, not to mention it no longer has to worry about being eaten by other sea life, how about we just toss you in the ocean, I'm sure you're big enough to pass for a walrus

      June 12, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • suznbee

      Really, you're actually questioning how this man would feel being out of his comfort zone ?
      This man who tried to sell this supposedly rare blue Lobster for $200 bucks, thinking it was a high price so no one would buy it?
      And claiming to be shy as this article says?
      Keeping it in his fish tank like normal, feeding it fish etc. ?
      Oh, he's a lobster catcher.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
    • JamesBond

      After fishing lobster for 33 years, I dont think releasing one will give him "peace".

      June 12, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • DB

      Oh, please.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • 22232

      I disagree. I think it would be delicious.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
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