Maine's biggest lobster to be returned to Atlantic

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 23, 2012 1:18 PM
Maine's biggest lobster to be returned to Atlantic

By Jason McLure

(Reuters) - The biggest lobster ever caught in Maine, a 27-pounder nicknamed "Rocky" with claws tough enough to snap a man's arm, will be released shortly after being trapped in a shrimp net last week, marine officials said on Thursday.

The 40-inch male crustacean, about the size of a 3-year-old human, will be freed in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, said Elaine Jones, education director for the state's Department of Marine Resources.

"All the weight is in the claws," Jones said. "It would break your arm."

The lobster was caught near the seaside village of Cushing and brought to the Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay. The state restricts fishermen from keeping lobsters that measure more than 5 inches from the eye to the tail.

Scientists are unable to accurately estimate the age of lobsters of this size, said Jones.

The marine lab has no record of a larger lobster being caught in the state, she said. The world's largest recorded lobster was a 44-pounder caught off Nova Scotia in 1977, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Maine lobstermen hauled in a record 100 million pounds of lobster last year, due in part to overfishing of predators such as haddock, cod and monkfish.

(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Paul Thomasch)