Two rare white lobsters were found in Maine recently within 5 days of each other, in what researchers have considered a 1-in-100 million chance.
"When the trap broke the water, it stuck right out,” Joe Bates, who caught one of the lobster’s with his daughter, said. “And I was really surprised and a little bit excited just to see it."
Bates, who has 300 traps off Rockland and has been lobstering since 1990, said he’s caught yellow lobsters in the past, but that he's never seen an albino lobster.
A couple miles northwest of Bates’ location, lobsterman Bert Philbrick found a second albino lobster.
Under normal circumstances, the lobsters would have been tossed back into the ocean because of their small size. However, the Maine Marine Patrol made exceptions, and the two were brought to Owl’s Head Lobster Co. south of Bangor.
According to the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine in Orono, a person is more likely to drown or get attacked by a shark than they are to catch a rare albino lobster. According to the institute, two albino lobsters have never been caught in the same week.
“We get blues [and] we get red ones every summer. That’s not a big deal. This is,” Bob Bayer, executive director of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, said.
According to Bayer, if more are found in the same location, it means some sort of unusual breeding has occurred.
The two lobsters are now being housed in the same crate, though one will be moved to the Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor. The other will eventually be moved to Brooks Trap Mill, a marine supply store, in Thomaston.