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Friday, February 24, 2012

27 pound lobster

27 pound lobster

Fisherman Robert Malone got the catch of his life when he hauled in a 27-pound lobster off the coast of Maine., Malone donated the giant lobster to the Department of Marine Resources instead of sending it straight to boil. Director Aimee Hayden-Rodriquez of the Maine State Aquarium said the lobster was caught in Boothbay Harbor, reported The Associated Press.The monstrous Maine lobster was nearly 40 inches long. Malone caught the lobster in the Rockland area and aptly named the crustacean named Rocky. However, Hayden Rodriquez said the name might have derived from "Rocky," the film about the underdog boxer subce the lobster has huge claws.The lobster is said to be the biggest ever to be brought to the aquarium. The previous record was held by a lobster that was mere four pounds, puny compared to Rocky. To put the beast into perspective, most people eat a lobster that is typically between one and three pounds, the AP reported.

Robert Malone went fishing for shrimp and pulled in a surprise: a 27-pound Maine lobster that could never be viewed as shrimpy.

The beast, caught in the vicinity of Rockland, Maine, was dubbed Rocky, reports the Associated Press. Of course, the size of the lobster's fearsome claws also bring to mind the meaty fists of that boxer named Balboa.

Malone opted to donate the nearly 40-inch-long crustacean to the Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor, the AP says. That's pretty magnanimous -- depending on how you look at it.

Lobster prices aren't what they once were, having fallen along with the economy around 2008, Reuters reports. But they were above $3.30 a pound in 2010, and the Maine lobster industry is bubbling over what looks to be a record haul in 2011, the new site says.

And, as the AP reported last year, the harvest in 2010 was one to exclaim over, with 93.4 million pounds valued at $308 million.

By the pound, Rocky should be a valuable lobster. But this crustacean's size could indicate a long life. And geezer lobsters don't make great eating.

Times Food Editor Russ Parsons on Thursday said he would avoid making dinner out of Rocky.

"The generally accepted wisdom on lobsters is that any time you get above, say, 3 pounds, bigger is certainly not better," Parsons said. "These are old beasts and they tend to be tough. An aquarium is almost certainly its highest and best use. Preferably a very large aquarium."

When fisherman Robert Maloney of Cushing brought in his last shrimp trawl of the 2012 season Feb. 17, he did not expect to find the 27-pound crustacean that had gotten caught in the grate that is designed to keep fish and lobsters out of his net.

"I'm mainly a lobsterman," said Maloney in a Feb. 23 phone interview. "That’s why it was kind of neat. It wouldn’t even fit in one of my lobster traps." When Maloney saw that he had caught a very large lobster, he brought it to Sgt. Rene Cloutier of Maine Marine Patrol.

"He thought the aquarium would be interested in having it," said Cloutier.

Department of Marine Resources biologist Carl Wilson said Feb. 23 the healthy male lobster that Cloutier brought to the Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor is "in great condition. There's no evidence of shell disease. It looks like it's had a pretty good life to date."

Measuring that life is no easy task, said Wilson. Because lobsters must shed their shells in order to grow, the hard body parts that scientists use to measure growth are discarded on a regular basis.

Wilson said the big-clawed male, which is the largest lobster the DMR lab has ever seen, is probably between 40 and 60 years old. Maloney thought it might be even older, because lobsters may not shed every year as they get on in age.

The record for Homarus americanus, the American lobster, is a 48-pound specimen caught in New Brunswick. The Maine State Aquarium's tanks are not big enough to comfortably house the one Maloney brought to shore last week.

"No matter how good of a home you give them, being in an aquarium or a tank is stressful," said Wilson. "I'm not sure we could do right by this lobster."

The lobster was scheduled to be released Thursday morning.

Maloney said he would not be tempted to bring a lobster of this size home to the cookpot, even if it were legal to do so.

"I think they get pretty rubbery when they get that old," he said. He was more interested in finding out what scientists could learn from his unexpected catch. "I wanted someone to examine it."

Now that the shrimp season is done, Maloney said he is preparing to spend the summer lobstering.

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