1. ITV Report

How rare is a blue lobster?

A lucky skipper in west Wales had the shock of his life when he landed a striking sapphire lobster while fishing off the coast of New Quay.

Tim Harrison described the rare event as "an epic moment" - but how rare are these coloured crustaceans?

This blue lobster caught off the west Wales coast is thought to be as rare as 1 in 2 million Credit: Tim Harrison/Epic Fishing Trips

Lobsters are typically dark brown or grey in colour, before turning pink when cooked.

Lobsters are typically brown or grey in colour and turn pink when cooked Credit: PA Images

According to oceanographers, a blue one is believed to be as rare as one in two million and is thought to be caused by a genetic mutation.

The discovery of the blue creatures have made headlines over the years.

But, there are some even rarer colours.

While most people think lobsters are red or orange, they only turn this colour when they are cooked. A ‘live red’ lobster is thought to be found in one in 10 million lobsters, according to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

An orange lobster was found off the coast of Gwynedd in 2017.

A yellow lobster is thought to be as rare as one in 30 million.

A rare albino Atlantic Lobster sits at the bottom on one of the indoor tanks at the Shippagan Aquarium in Shippagan, Canada Credit: PA Images

There is also what is known as a ‘split-coloured lobster’ - half brown and half orange. The Lobster Institute report it is not just the colour that is different. It is thought all of the split-coloured lobsters recorded have been hermaphroditic - meaning they have both male and female sex organs.

The chances of seeing an albino or ‘crystal’ lobster is even less - thought to be around one in 100 million, according to the Lobster Institute in Maine.

  • Do they change colour when cooked?

Yes. Even blue yellow and white lobsters turn bright red when they are cooked. They are perfectly suitable for consumption and taste the same as normal lobsters. When the shell is introduced to heat, proteins are destroyed so the pigment shows up in its bright red natural state.

The crustaceans even have their own day of celebration on 25 September every year.

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  • Do rare coloured lobsters have a higher value?

It is up for debate whether the uniquely coloured lobsters have a higher value as lobster prices can be volatile and shift with demand. Price is also determined by the quality of the lobster such as the hardness of its shell.

The blue lobster caught was released back into the water by Mr Harrison before he returned to dry land.