Technicolor Dream Lobster: Brier Island fisherman hauls in a multi-coloured seabug

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
Published on January 22, 2016

WESTPORT – They are calling it the Technicolor Dream Lobster.

Chad Graham of Westport, captain aboard the lobster fishing boat Chad and Sisters Two, has seen a lot of strange lobsters in his time.

The 32-year-old Brier Islander has spent his whole life at sea – they say Chad’s father used to take him scalloping before he could even walk and stand him up in the shucking box so he could hand scallops to his father.

Chad has hauled up lobsters that were all blue and even lobsters that were all yellow – but he has never seen one like this.

On Dec. 19, fishing at the mouth of St. Mary’s Bay he hauled up a multi-coloured lobster – the most purple lobster he’s ever seen with streaks of blue and white and yellow mixed in.

It gets busy on the deck of a lobster boat and Graham didn’t have time to look too close.

He took one quick photo, measured the lobster and it came up short – Department of Fisheries and Ocean regulations don’t allow fishermen to keep lobster with a body length less 82.5 mm (3.25 inches).

So Chad threw the little lobster back and didn’t realize how cool it was until he got looking at his photos a few days later.

Last April Chad hauled up a 17-pound lobster and took a picture of his deckhand Jess Tudor holding it up – that photo went viral on the Internet.

And last June he entered a 19-pound lobster in the Lobster Bash jumbo lobster contest – good enough for second place.

The chances of catching a blue lobster are about 1 in 2 million – the colouring in lobster comes from pigments in the shell. Normal lobster have more red pigment or astaxanthin but blue lobsters have extra crustacyanin or blue pigment.

A small collection of stories the Digby Courier has done on various weird and wonderful lobsters:

Jason Farstad caught a split-coloured lobster in October 2012; the chances of catching a split-coloured are one in 50 million. Usually these lobsters are hermaphrodites; that is they have both male and female sexual organs.

Waylon Mosher caught a blue lobster with an albino underside in 2011, Jeffrey Leeman also caught a blue lobster in 2011 and in 2007.

According to Wikipedia, the chances of catching a blue lobster is one in 2 million; red lobsters (the uncooked kind) at one in 10 million; yellow, orange or calico lobsters: one in 30 million, and albino lobsters: 1 in 100 million.

We have also taken lots of pictures of big lobsters over the years. We came across a 17-pound lobster one day while out for a walk on the Digby wharf [A busy day at the Digby wharf: herring, sea gulls and seals and a jumbo lobster, June 2015]

And then there’s the annual competition at the Digby Lobster Bash to see who can catch the biggest lobster – the record for lobsters weighed in at the Lobster Bash now stands at 20 pounds.