A fisherman caught an exceptionally rare “one in two million” bright blue lobster off the Cornish coast.
Tom Lambourn was stunned when he opened his lobster pot aboard boat ‘My Lass’ to find the vivid crustacean inside while commercial fishing off Penzance, Cornwall.
The 25-year-old, from Newlyn, photographed the 12ins European lobster, Latin name Homarus gammarus, before letting it go as it was too small to take home.
Blue lobsters get this colour because of a genetic abnormality which causes an over-production of the protein crustacyanin.
Fishermen who come across one believe it to be a sign of good luck and usually do not eat it.
Lobsters are generally brown or grey in colour, providing camouflage against the rocky sea bed.
Just like all lobsters, the blue lobster will turn bright red when cooked.
Tom said: “With every pot you never know what is going to be inside, and I’ve certainly never seen one that colour before.
“This is only my second fishing season so I think I’ve been very lucky.
“I measured it and it was undersized so there was never any thought of keeping it.
“If it had been bigger, I would have taken it to the National Hatchery.
“I sent them some photos of the lobster and they told me it is one in two million so that is quite special.”
A spokesman for National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow, Cornwall, said: “It is a pretty rare colour morph to come across, about one in two million chance, so we were amazed when Tom sent us the photo of it.
“The lobster was too small to bring in to land so was popped back in the sea so it can keep growing.
“Who knew that a crustacean could be so vibrant?”
Ben Marshall, National Lobster Hatchery supervisor, added: “It is very, very rare and very interesting to see a blue lobster.
“The skipper threw it back as it was under the length you are allowed to catch lobsters in Cornwall.
“Blue lobsters have a different colour pigmentation in their shells which means they find if much harder to camouflage so they get preyed upon, reducing their numbers.”