Fishermen off the coast of Nova Scotia have been hauling up strange-coloured lobsters for years, but a rainbow lobster caught just before Christmas may top them all.

It was caught on Dec. 19 by Captain Chad Graham on the Chad & Sisters Two, sailing out of Westport, Brier Island. 

Graham's sister, Amanda Graham, says he pulled the multi-coloured crustacean out of the water at the mouth of St. Marys Bay.

"He has caught all blue and yellow lobsters before, but this one was the most purple — with blues, yellow, and white — that's he's ever caught or seen," she said.

Graham said her brother took a few quick photos, but then had to toss the lobster back in the water because it didn't meet Department of Fisheries and Oceans regulations. Fishermen aren't allowed to keep lobster with a body length less than 82.5 millimetres.

She said it wasn't until a few days later when Chad Graham checked his photo that he realized how unique the lobster was.

"He wished he had kept it or at least taken more photos," she said.

Graham said a university professor has since contacted the family wanting to study it, but didn't realize it had been thrown back into the ocean.

"Who knows, maybe he'll haul him up again some day," she said.

Graham said her brother does catch different coloured lobsters from time to time and blames genetics and protein for the anomaly.

"It's always been happening," she said. "But back then they didn't have social media to tell everyone about it."