When Maine lobster fisherman Bill Coopersmith pulled a cotton candy-colored lobster out of the water, he knew he found something special. While fishing in Casco Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Maine, on November 5, the lobsterman found the peculiar crustacean in his traps. After admiring its gorgeous, pink-and-blue speckled shell, Coopersmith contacted his boss at the seafood company, Get Maine Lobster.
“Bill and his crew were extremely excited,” said CEO Mark Murrell of his contract lobsterman to Live Science.
Of course, this lobster was too special to keep in the mix of his other catch. So, instead, Coopersmith placed the sea creature aside and even gave it the name Haddie, after his granddaughter. For the real-life Haddie, the sentiment suggests that she’s a one in a million kind of catch. Actually, make that one in 100 million, according to Murrell.
While these lobsters are certainly a rare catch, it’s not clear just how many actually exist in the wild. Michael Tlusty, associate professor of sustainability and food solutions at the University of Massachusetts Boston, explained to National Geographic that a cotton candy lobster only turns up once every four or five years.
As it turns out, the color of a lobster’s shell is dependent on its diet. Those that have an astaxanthin-rich diet from eating crab and shrimp develop an orange-red hue. Meanwhile, those that snack only on baitfish may share Haddie’s unique hues. Although, there is also a chance that this feature is a genetic mutation. If that’s the case, then lobster fishermen might be seeing more crustaceans like Haddie in the near future as the creatures continue to pass on the coloring to their offspring.
Maine Fisherman Has Caught Other Rare Lobsters
Unfortunately, as beautiful as it may seem to us on land, underwater, the pastel colors act as a huge target.
“According to the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance, lobsters with rare coloring may be at a disadvantage and more visible to predators, since their normal coloring helps them blend in with the environment,” Murrell explained.
So, what will happen to the blue-and-pink speckled Haddie?
“This is a beautiful lobster, and we want to preserve it,” Murrell said.
Get Maine Lobster ended up donating her to the Seacoast Science Center, “where she can hang out with other lobsters and be as safe as can be.”
Meanwhile, fisherman Coopersmith will continue his career, finding a rare treasure every now and then. According to the Maine resident, Haddie wasn’t even his first peculiar pick. Over his 40 years on the water, Coopersmith has also found a bright orange one and a pure white one.
Just as he did with Haddie, he named these unique creatures after his grandchildren, too.