Kudos to the folks at City Crab and Seafood in New York City for their decision to release a 20 pound lobster believed to be well over 100 years old (one pound roughly equals 7-10 years). The large lobster was released yesterday not far from my neck of the woods in Kennebunkport, Maine, in an area closed off to lobster traps.
PETA jumped all over this one, writing a letter to City Crab and Seafood as soon as they heard the news. They pointed out that Bubba, a 100+ year old lobster caught last year, died after just a week in captivity and urged City Crab and Seafood to "please consider allowing us to release this lobster back into his ocean home".
Funny story — a few years ago I won the door prize at my daughter's school fundraising auction. The prize was two live lobsters, to be shipped to me overnight by a local Portland, Maine, company.
I've never really been a big fan of lobster. I could eat Alaskan King Crab legs all night long, but lobster never really did it for me. The gift certificate sat on my desk for almost a year before my wife-at-the-time, Heather, expressed an interest in trying lobster. She grew up a vegetarian and had never had the pleasure of cracking open and eating a big red sea bug.
I called up the company and placed my order. The next day we recieved a box packed with a cooking pot, two live lobsters, some ears of corn, and crackers. The lobsters were packed in the cooking pot wrapped up in seaweed.
I quickly decided that I wanted to set my lobster free. I told Heather she could cook hers if she wanted, but that mine was going back in the ocean. After one look at the poor pathetic little lobbies, she agreed that she'd set hers free as well.
We packed up the lobsters and our daughters and drove to the beach where I walked them into the water and let them go. Here's a photo of me holding them up right before the release, shown on the right. (I needed a haircut that week.)
One of them shot off into deeper water right away, happy to be back in the sea with another chance of making it to 20 lbs. The other lobster never made it. He just sat at the bottom and swayed with the current. He was in the same place I placed him when we left.
We should have eaten that one.