OCEAN CITY — A commercial fishing vessel out of the commercial harbor in West Ocean City hauled in a rare find last week — a blue lobster.
Captain John Gourley and mate Tim Aulinskis, fishing aboard the “Pot Luck” off the coast of Ocean City, last Wednesday discovered a rare blue lobster in their harvest. The blue lobster will eventually make its way to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The normal coloration of a live lobster is dark bluish green to greenish brown, with redder areas on the body and claws and greener areas on the legs. The lobster’s coloration is produced by mixing yellow, blue and red pigments.
However, the rare lobster harvested by the “Pot Luck” last week was bright blue. A genetic mutation causes a blue lobster to produce an excessive amount of a particular protein. The protein and a red carotenoid molecule known as astaxanthin combine to form a blue complex known as crustacyanin, giving the lobster its unique blue color, according to the University of Maine. An estimated one in two million lobsters are blue.
Although the blue lobster is uncommon, the specimen caught last week is not the first for the crew on the “Pot Luck.” Aulinskis has a picture of his son holding one from a harvest nine years ago.
Last month, a Canadian fisherman caught a strikingly blue lobster in Nova Scotia and is now looking to sell the rare crustacean to the highest bidder. However, the “Pot Luck” crew is not looking to make a big score with its rare catch last week and has donated the lobster to the National Aquarium via the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.
“The Maryland Coastal Bays Program highly commends the crew of the ‘Pot Luck’ for offering their find as a donation so all of us can actually witness this beautiful fluke of nature,” said the MCBP in a statement this week.