What a catch!
A Maine lobsterman pulled an iridescent pink and blue “cotton candy” lobster from a trap off the coast of Maine over the weekend, which is one of the rarest lobster hues around.
Bill Coppersmith, who works for Get Maine Lobster and has been fishing for 40 years, knew that he net something special. So he texted company CEO Mark Murrell with his rare catch, and they’re keeping the crustacean — named “Haddie” after Coppersmith’s granddaughter — in a tank at company headquarters.
“This is the first cotton candy we have discovered,” Murrell told Fox News. “Finding one like this is a true gift. It shows Mother Nature’s true artistry.”
While most lobsters caught off of North America’s Atlantic coast tend to be a brownish-green in color, the pigment of their shells can vary due to a natural chemical called astaxanthin, and the way it interacts with different proteins. It’s similar to how the melanin in humans gives us various skin tones.
This astaxanthin can result in lobsters coming in unusual colors, such as bright blue or yellow. There are even two-toned lobsters that come in two different colors — the right side of the body might be red, and the left side black, for example. The Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance says that about one out of every two million lobsters may be blue. Only one in 30 million is yellow.
But albino (white) or cotton candy lobsters are the rarest of them all: the odds of catching one are one in 100 million.
They’re so rare that it’s difficult to put a price tag on them — especially since, as in this case, they are often donated to aquariums, rather than sold.
“There’s no intention to sell or cook Haddie!” Murrell said. “Instead, Get Maine Lobster is speaking to local organizations, and any interested aquariums can get in touch to adopt her, so she can live out the rest of her life in safety and comfort.”
Last month, the Seacoast Science Center in New Hampshire displayed a split-colored half-blue, half-orange lobster to the public that was also caught off the coast of Maine. And in February, the the University of New England’s Marine Science Center received a yellow lobster that was donated by a local lobsterman, which they aptly named “Banana.”
While you can’t really put a price on this cotton candy lobster, the coveted crustaceans overall have been clawing higher than usual prices this year.
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The price of lobster is running upwards of $15 per pound, which is about a third more than a year ago, and twice the price from some previous summers and early falls. This in due in part to high demand, ongoing supply chain issues, as well as the rising costs of fuel, boats and traps.