Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Throws It Back in the Ocean

A fisherman reeled in a unique find when he discovered an extremely rare blue lobster in his bucket.

Lobsterman Toby Burnham nabbed the brightly colored crustacean during a routine fishing haul on the shores of Gloucester, Massachusetts, on Friday July 16.

Burnham brought the lobster in to photograph before releasing it back into the sea, wholesale lobster company Captain Joe and Sons said in a blog post on their website.

Photos shared by the local fishmonger show the veteran fisherman handling his prize find.

Researchers believe the specimen is extremely rare, and estimate the odds of finding a blue lobster at 1 in every 2 million, according to the New England Aquarium. The blue color is due to a genetic anomaly in which the animals develop an excess of the pigment crustacyanin.

Burnham said the bright blue color of the "one in a million lobster" appeared to be "glowing" from the trap. "I thought it was a fish flapping around in there but when I looked, it was a lobster," he told Boston.com. "He was really blue, so I took him. I snatched him right out of the trap."

Describing the decision to throw the crustacean back into the sea, Burnham said: "Well, it's one in a million lobster, so you know we can throw one back ... I threw it back where it was so he got his chance to go back and to his hole."

Joey Ciaramitaro, co-owner of Captain Joe and Sons, agreed, adding that he only sees a blue lobster every two to three years. "It's a special lobster and it shouldn't be in captivity," he told the publication. "It should go back to the ocean."

Back in May, fishermen in Canada caught a rare two-toned lobster, which is half orange, in what is thought to be an even more elusive one-in-50 million catch.

Pêcheries Desbois, or Desbois fisheries, based in Quebec, found the rare specimen at Anticosti Island but threw the lobster back in the water because he was "too small."

Last month, a rare calico lobster was saved from its fate as part of a $20 dinner special at a Virginia restaurant and was instead rerouted to a museum.

An employee at Red Lobster in Manassas noticed that one of the restaurant's lobsters had a spotted appearance and looked different than the others. After calling Seafood Watch, a conservation program run by an aquarium in California, the lobster was collected to be taken to the Virginia Living Museum.

According to National Geographic, the odds of finding one of these colorful crustaceans is between one in 30 million and one in 50 million.

"Calico-colored lobsters like Freckles are so rare, it was almost unbelievable that we received one," the Red Lobster restaurant said in a statement obtained by Fox News. "We are so proud of our employees for recognizing that Freckles was so special – and for reaching out so we could make arrangements for rescue ... We hope Freckles brings lots of joy to guests of the museum and lives a long and wonderful life."

 blue lobster
File photo: A rare blue lobster seen at Oceanopolis, a sea center in Brest, western of France. FRED TANNEAU/Getty Images