Bobby Stoddard is a second-generation lobster-boat captain. But the rare blue lobster Stoddard caught off the coast of Nova Scotia was something his father had seen only once before in more than a half century as a professional fisherman.
"This is the only one that I've ever seen," Stoddard 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."
The University of Maine Lobster Institute says that blue lobsters are a 1-in-2-million phenomenon, with their unique hue originating from a genetic variation that triggers a protein in the lobster creating the blue shell coloring. In 2009, a even more rare yellow lobster was caught in Canada. The yellow lobster has an orange and yellow hue, similar to lobsters that have been cooked. Yellow lobsters are a 1-in-30-million occurrence.
Stoddard has unsuccessfully tried to donate the blue wonder to a local ocean institute that "didn't seem too interested," in his find. His girlfriend suggested Stoddard sell the lobster on a classified-ad site. But after several "weird" emails and phone calls, Stoddard pulled 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.' "
In the meantime, the blue lobster is residing safely inside a holding tank at Stoddard's business. If only to uphold the standards of truth in advertising, the crustacean hopefully won't end up on the menu at Red Lobster. However, the Associated Press notes that blue lobsters turn the same color as other lobsters when they are cooked.
"I don't know what the best thing is to do," Stoddard told CNN. "It probably belongs back in the ocean, but I'd like for as many people as possible to see it."
A few other blue lobsters have been found in recent years. In 2011 another blue lobster was caught off the coast of Canada. "Fluffy," as the blue lobster was dubbed, was displayed at a local museum before being returned to the waters off Prince Edward Island.
And in April, a new species of purple-hued crab was discovered in the Philippines.