A Once in a Lifetime Catch: Rare Giant Lobster Caught by Young Lobsterman

September 11 21:38 2020

What would you do if you were just starting a new job and you made the local news?

When most people go their entire careers without seeing something in the wild, you know it is something special.

And for one lobsterman in Plymouth, Massachusetts, it all happened right at the start of his career.

Just Starting Out and Already Making the News

You see, Adam Carpenter is not a veteran lobsterman but instead very much a beginner at 13 years of age, USA Today reports.

That’s not uncommon, especially when you live in lobster country. The New England coast is famed for its beautiful beaches as well as its storied history, but what most people know it for are the vast quantities of lobsters that are harvested out of its icy cold blue waters on an annual basis.

The Pilgrims and Lobster Fishing in Plymouth, Massachusetts

Hailing from the town famous for the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock, the area around Plymouth, Massachusetts is also one of the nation’s foremost red lobster fishing communities. Adam is following in a long tradition, but he probably never expected to make a little bit of history on his own.

“It’s sort of like gambling. You never know if you are going to find an empty pot or have it filled with lobsters. One of the good things is you get muscles from hauling the traps.”

Indeed, lobster fishing is one of the toughest jobs out there, but it doesn’t often make the headlines. But when something this exotic is captured; people can’t help but gawk.

A Rare Sight Indeed

How rare is a blue-red lobster? Try one in 200 million. That’s right: For every 200 million red lobsters scurrying about on the ocean floor, one of them might be some shade of blue.

Somebody get this guy a lottery ticket, right? With luck like that, who knows where he is going to go from here.

“I’d seen YouTube videos of blue lobsters before but never thought I would catch one. I was shocked,” he explained.

“Whatever the odds of catching different-colored lobsters, there’s no denying that bright blue ones are truly beautiful creatures. They might not be the most unusual, but they are undoubtedly the best to look at,” commented the University of Maine Lobster Institute’s Rob Bayer on another blue lobster article published a couple of years ago on the BBC.

To be fair, the process of fishing for lobsters can be a game of chance in and of itself.

Typically, lobster hunters will set out their traps, plunging them deep into the cold waters of the North Atlantic, and then wait a couple of days to see who wanders into the box. Hauling up the traps can be hard work and, sometimes, the haul isn’t much. Not all lobsters that are caught can be kept after all.

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How does the blue pigmentation happen? Basically, blue lobsters produce more of certain proteins than their red-shelled brethren and that’s pretty much all there is to it.

A researcher at the UK’s National Lobster Hatchery in Cornwall, Charlie Ellis, said of lobster colors, “The American lobster is usually a sort of greeny-brown, so anything bright blue would look very odd to fishermen there. But European lobsters tend to be a duller blue color. The real sort of iridescent blue is still rare here, but the difference is that, to a European fisherman, it will seem less completely out of the ordinary than it would seem to a North American.”

Finding a Bit of Blue Among Brown-Green Lobsters

Adam was going about his business checking on one of his 24 traps when he found the rare sight nestled within. Ecstatic, he called the first person that came to mind and that was his mother.

His mother added, “He called me on his cell, and he was so excited. He kept yelling, ‘Mom, I caught a blue lobster!’”

Typically, Adam would sell his lobsters to a local vendor and, in truth, blue lobsters can fetch a heady sum. Buyers tend to be restaurants equipped with a saltwater tank that can accommodate the lobster and the rarity tends to be an attraction rather than a dish on the menu

And to be clear, there is no difference in the taste of a red lobster or a blue one. The differences are truly shell deep. Besides that, the novelty value of a blue lobster is too much to pass up to kill it and serve it up as a homely lobster roll.

The Long History of Lobster Fishing in New England

Lobster fishing is almost as old as New England itself and it is far from an easy profession. Though the market for red lobsters is typically robust, a lot of it hinges on the restaurant business. Shipping out to all areas of the world, New England lobsters are one of the region’s major economic drivers and the provider of employment for thousands of people all the way from the tip of Maine down to Connecticut.

A New Home in the Aquarium

As for the future of the blue lobster Adam caught, he said, “I might give it to the New England Aquarium. They’ll give it a good home.”

We’re sure the blue lobster was happy to hear that news. As for its brethren, they will likely go on to power the beach stands and greasy spoons of Massachusetts as the summer season draws to a close and the days of getting fried clam strips and a lobster roll give way to winter snows.

Adam, naturally, will continue to fish the waters off of Plymouth and, maybe, just maybe, chance upon another blue lobster in the future.

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