Pink, blue, orange lobster tales more common
Coloured lobster stories spreading with Facebook, Twitter
Stories of blue, orange, pink, even two-coloured lobsters are more common in the Maritimes these days, but it may be just because it's easier now to tell the tale.
The odds of a brightly-coloured lobster being born haven't changed. The cause is entirely genetic. The odds vary from colour to colour, but it is always millions to one.
That rarity makes for a celebration on any fishing boat where one is caught.
"It's a lot of hooting and hollering and dancing," said lobster fisherman Mark Jenkins.
One possible explanation is a change in the number of predators, such as cod. Brightly-coloured lobster are easier to spot on the ocean floor, and therefore more likely to get eaten. If there are fewer natural predators, the chance of a bright-blue lobster making it to adulthood increases.
Robert MacMillan, the P.E.I. government's lobster biologist, has noticed that he's getting more calls, but he doesn't think it's because more are being caught. He believes technology is making it easier for fishermen to share the news.
"Probably do get a few more stories than we did in the past," said MacMillan.
"With the advent of the cell phone, email and the likes I get reports more commonly throughout the season. I'm still sticking with my thoughts: the incidence of reporting may be increased."
Mark Jenkins agrees. He said most fishermen want to share the news of the unusual catch.
"Twitter, Facebook, instantly. And that's what it is. It's a lot of bragging rights more than anything," he said.
It's not bad for business either. When he isn't fishing, Jenkins runs a lobster tour boat, and the tour includes a stop by his traps to see the blue and orange lobsters he's holding.
"Quite a gasp when they see it, they're not expecting it," he said.
"They get to pass it around and they get their picture with it so they think that's pretty cool."
Blue, orange or pink, the unusual pigments won't get in the way of a tasty supper. After they're cooked all lobsters come out red. Fishermen say the ones that start life blue taste just as good as the regular greeny-brown ones.
For mobile device users: What colour lobster would you most like to see?