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. Richard

    Feed the vegans to the lobsters...

    June 12, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      That could be construed as abusive...The poor lobsters will be malnourished if you only feed vegans to them!
      Also; if you do that, we will be finding ugly chartreuse lobsters... Everyone knows you are what you eat!

      June 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lana

    Let him go where you caught him. Tell no one of the location. A few years from now, you may find many more!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Eldon

      Smart! Best answer so far regarding "what to do"...

      June 12, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • s

      Absolutely! Release it back to the ocean!

      June 12, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. ergneroifan

    Something like that would benefit humanity the most by having it donated to scientific research. At the same time, Bobby Stoddard and his crew should be allowed to take all the credit for catching it.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • susie

      So,you have a baby with a rare genetic anomaly...scientific research should be the priority?

      June 12, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. vet2640

    Just eat it buddy!, steamed, boiled, broiled or raw! Please post on the flavor.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. susie

    Interesting perspectives...ok, karma doesn't apply to most of you – just put it back in it's comfort zone and LET IT BE – just because it's beautiful and unique doesn't give us permission to take control of it.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. RobertM

    He/she is just the first of his species to adapt to the color of all the pepsi cans sitting on the ocean floor.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Epidi

    Release it back to where you caught it. Beautiful creature and not enough meat on it to eat anyway.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. yahmez

    Clone it!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. kuwahara

    first thing i want to say is thanks to Mr Stoddard for allowing for many persons to see this beautiful creature. and second maybe he should introduce a legislative bill, to congress, to protect these creatures because they are so rare. and encourage other fishermen to respect them and let them live so they can multiply maybe it can be called the "stoddard blue crab bill" just a suggestion

    June 12, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Marc

    He should keep it and breed it for the pet trade.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rose

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium would probably welcome it.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Dieyoung

      I love that aquarium. I use to live thirty minutes from there. They would buy that lobster for a high price... Stranger.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jimmy Nicks

    I work in the seafood department of a Sobeys grocery store in Atlantic Canada. Every year during lobstering season local lobster fishermen bring in coloured or deformed lobsters for us to display in our lobster tank to the public. Almost every year we get 1-2 blue lobsters. Some of them are a nice blue like in the picture in this article. Some are a lighter blue and one was pretty sky-blue on top and white on the bottom. We've also had bright orange and yellow ones, speckled ones, and a couple that were split right down the middle with one side a different colour then the other. Considering how many blue ones I've seen, I don't think they're as rare as this article implies.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. b4bigbang

    They should try to breed it to make more blue ones so they can be sold as exotic aquarium animals.
    They'd have to breed it with a regular-colored one, but maybe after a few litters (litters?) they'd get another blue one, and then they'd be set.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      blue is recessive, even breeding with another blue would still have a even if not higher chance to be red.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. onestarman


    June 12, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. St. Louis gal

    I bet the St. Louis Zoo would take it in a heartbeat and give it the very best home possible. Or what about Shed's Aquarium in Chicago? I bet he would love it there and they would love to have it!

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