An Anglesey fisherman had a day to remember when he caught an ultra-rare bright blue lobster.
Experts have estimated that the odds of hauling in this particular lobster are one in two million.
Liam Thomas, 29, comes from a family of commercial fisherman and although he has caught some oddities in the past, this is unlike anything he's ever hauled in.
Mr Thomas said: "It was light blue, a kind of pastel colour, with just one main claw. I couldn’t believe it. I’d never caught anything like it before."
Liam was fishing from his home port of Amlwch on the morning of Wednesday July 27 when he found the blue crustacean near Puffin Island.
Since buying his boat, 'Good One' six years ago, he's normally landed crabs and lobsters in 400 pots on fleets of lines.However this day was slightly different as Liam caught another blue lobster, though this one was much darker and not as bright. “I do catch some that are dark, dark blue, but nothing like the one I caught today,” he said.Most lobsters caught in the Irish Sea are a mucky green-brown colour but the bright blue lobsters are incredibly rare. Their unique colour results from a genetic abnormality that causes them to produce an excess of a certain protein.
As roughly 200 million lobsters are caught in the North Atlantic every year, this means only 100 blue ones would be expected to be found each year.
Lobsters under a certain size must be returned to the sea but Liam said his blue lobster was fully grown.
Despite their rarity, Liam doesn’t expect his special lobster to attract a premium. When boiled, blue lobsters turn an orangey-pink colour just like all the others.A US-caught blue lobster was put up on eBay for $500 (£415) but the listing failed to attract a single bid. It means Liam’s pastel crustacean will have the same fate as the others he landed today.“It will just stay in a keep pot for four or five days before it’s taken by my buyer along with the others,” he said. “From there it will probably end up in Spain.”
Some of his more uncommon catches off the coast of Anglesey include a lobster with an extra claw, but today’s landing was the strangest. “It only had one claw but that’s not unusual as they often release a claw if they get it trapped in a rock or fishing line,” he said.“Since I began fishing with my dad, the seas have changed massively. He used to lay his pots in April and start hauling them out soon after. Often these days you don’t get any lobsters until mid-June when water temperatures rise.”Blue lobsters are rare, but there are rarer ones. The odds of finding a yellow lobster is said to be around one in 30 million, according to the US Lobster Institute.Vanishingly rare is the albino or “crystal” lobster, one of which was caught by two Dorset fishermen in 2011. The odds of a repeat are thought to be one in 100 million.Liam’s one-clawed bluey may not be the rarest, or most expensive, but there is one positive: according to sea lore, catching a blue lobster is a sign of good fortune.