From seafood shop to aquarium: Saving a rare blue lobster
Published Friday, May 27, 2016 5:28PM EDT
A rare blue lobster on sale at a Toronto seafood shop has been given a second shot at life after a customer spotted the cobalt crustacean and contacted a local aquarium.
According to a store manager at Pisces Gourmet Seafood Specialty Shop, the standout lobster arrived in a regular seafood shipment from Nova Scotia last week.
“It just randomly came in a box with a batch of lobsters,” manager Russell Regimbal told CTVNews.ca. “It really sticks out compared to the others.”
The odds of catching a blue lobster are estimated to be about one in two million. The blue shell is attributed to a genetic mutation that causes the lobster to produce higher levels of a particular protein.
After discovering the crustacean, Regimbal went online and learned how rare such lobsters are, and then put the lobster up for sale anyway.
“Apparently the blue lobsters taste better – I wouldn’t know from experience,” Regimbal said.
A customer who spotted the blue lobster for sale reached out to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, located in downtown Toronto, and offered to buy the lobster if they’d take it in.
The aquarium gladly accepted the donation.
“We do receive donation requests on a regular basis but we have never received a blue lobster donation before,” said Lauren Chan, marketing and communications associate with the aquarium, in an emailed statement.
While the lobster appears less brightly coloured than some other blue lobsters, Chan said experts at the aquarium had seen photos of the crustacean and confirmed that it is indeed a rare blue lobster.
“Just like people, every lobster is different. In addition to that, it could actually be ready to molt and will potentially turn more blue after the process,” Chan wrote.
The lobster will be kept onsite and acclimated to its new home before being moved to the aquarium’s Canadian Waters gallery. It is expected to be bought from the seafood shop sometime on Friday.
The aquarium already has a blue lobster, an orange lobster and a white lobster, but their shells sometimes change colour after the molting process. The chances of catching a white lobster are estimated at one in 100 million.
The news comes after two Nova Scotia fishermen caught blue lobsters in the span of four days off the coast of Cape Breton last week. The first lobster was caught Friday near Sydney, N.S. and released Sunday; the second lobster was caught Monday in waters near the initial catch. It is unclear whether the two men caught the same blue lobster.
It’s not the first time an Atlantic lobster has made its way to the Ripley’s aquarium. In 2013, a blue lobster and a white lobster caught off the coast of Nova Scotia were sent to the aquarium.