What’s the Value of a Blue Lobster?

Imagine heading out for a hard day’s fishing and returning with a gem that stuns fishermen across the nation? That’s exactly what happened to Mark Rand and his son Luke, who caught a rare, bright blue lobster off the coast of Maine on Aug. 11, 2022.

The father and son, who between them have at least 60 years of fishing experience, named the crustacean “Lucky Bluey” and kept it in a tank at Becky’s Dinner in Portland, a famous restaurant owned by Luke's mother, before releasing it back into the wild a week later. Mark and Luke have caught plenty of fish over the years but none as rare as this—blue lobsters, according to the New England Aquarium, are a one-in-2 million discovery.

Key Takeaways

  • Blue lobsters are rare. Estimates by the New England Aquarium put the likelihood of catching a blue lobster as one in 2 million.
  • There are other more rare lobsters such as the yellow lobster and the albino or crystal lobster.
  • There really is no way to value a blue lobster—most of them are donated to aquariums, although they have been seen on menus for $500+.

How Rare Are Blue Lobsters?

Typically, lobsters caught off the Atlantic coast of North America tend to be an unattractive greeny-brown color. Once boiled, they turn orangey-pink. Mark and Luke Rand, like the few other catchers of blue lobsters before them, were destined for good fortune, according to fishing folklore.

So, just how rare are blue lobsters, and what are your chances of catching one for dinner? According to the University of Maine Lobster Institute, the blue color is caused by an abundance of a particular protein from a genetic defect. While the university has stated that only one blue lobster exists for every two million, research director Dr. Robert Bayer admits that that statistic is only a guess. According to him, "the chances of this happening nobody really knows."

The iridescent blue coloring in blue lobsters is caused by an abundance of a particular protein from a genetic defect.

Some experts have even suggested that blue lobsters are fairly easy to come by. David Spiegelhalter, a British statistician, claimed that about 200 million lobsters are caught in the North Atlantic every year, which equates to 100 blue ones turning up in a year on average—based on the popular one in 2 million ratio.

That would help to explain the occasions when blue lobsters have been caught in quick succession, such as in 2016 when two fishermen off the coast of Nova Scotia reeled in two of these lobsters over the course of a few days.

Charlie Ellis of the UK National Lobster Hatchery in Cornwall believes the iridescent blue seen in North American species (European blue lobsters are a duller color) is even more common. According to him, the probability of a lobster being bright blue may be as low as one in a few hundred thousand.

Other Rare Lobsters

Most agree that blue lobsters, though rare, are not the rarest form of lobster. Yellow lobsters, for example, account for approximately one in 30 million, according to estimates from the Lobster Institute.

White—also known as albino or “crystal”—lobsters are said to be even harder to find. The odds of spotting one of them, according to researchers, is thought to be one in 100 million.

There are other rare lobsters. For, example, the number of yellow lobsters is estimated as one in 30 million, and albino or crystal lobsters are estimated to be one in 100 million.

How Much Do Blue Lobsters Cost?

Blue lobsters are perfectly suitable for consumption. They have been priced as high as $500 on eBay, although the listing failed to attract a single bid, so it's safe to say the worth of blue lobsters is debatable.

When restaurant Per Se featured its blue lobster and wagyu menu, it was priced at $560. For the same amount that it would cost two people to dine on blue lobster, you may also be able to buy a pair of rare Nike "Blue Lobster" sneakers, which can fetch anywhere from $600 to $10,000. 

What Is Special About a Blue Lobster?

Blue lobsters are special because they are rare and beautiful to look at. The New England Aquarium predicts about one in every 2 million lobsters is blue, making them hard to find and the fisherman who catch them famous.

What Do Blue Lobsters Taste Like?

The color of a lobster is unlikely to impact how it tastes. It’s very probable that a blue one would become red when cooked and taste the same as the others.

What Color Lobster Is the Rarest?

While blue lobsters are hard to find, they are not considered the rarest. That honor goes to the white lobster, which experts say has a one in 100 million chance of being spotted.

The Bottom Line

It’s hard to put a dollar value on a blue lobster. When they are caught, they are usually put back into the sea, which makes them even rarer and deserving of a higher price.

Some restaurants have put them on their menu for hundreds of dollars. Presumably, there are people out there that are willing to fork out to say they ate this rare form of lobster, even though they are unlikely to taste much different from regular ones. There’s also likely to be a collectors market out there somewhere for this type of lobster, with prices that fluctuate depending on the supply and demand dynamics at any given moment.

Article Sources
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  1. Portland Press Herald. "Portland lobsterman catches rare blue lobster."

  2. New England Aquarium. "Donated Rare Blue Lobster on View."

  3. BBC News. "How Rare Are Bright Blue Lobsters?"

  4. Maine Lobsterman's Community Alliance. "Lobster 1.5: Color."

  5. The Price Hike. "Per Se's $560 Blue Lobster & Wagyu Menu."

  6. The University of Maine. "Questions from Kids About Lobsters & Lobstering."

  7. National Geographic. "Why This Rare Lobster Is Colored Like Blue Cotton Candy."

  8. The University of Maine. "Lobster Institute statistics cited in WMTW report on rare yellow lobster."

  9. eBay. "Nike SB Blue Lobster Sneakers for Men."

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