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Lobster

Lobster imageThe American lobster, Homarus americanus, is found in its greatest quantity in Maine, but can be found from the Canadian Maritimes to North Carolina. The lobster is a crustacean and lives in the ocean.  At present, Maine is the largest lobster producing state in the nation. Early reports suggest that the first lobsters were caught in 1605. Over 75 million pounds of lobster was harvested in 2006, generating 280.4 million dollars.

Historically, lobsters were not desired and were thought of as food for poor people. Early Americans even used lobster as yard fertilizer and fishing bait. Prisoners and indentured servants complained because they were forced to eat lobster very often. By the 1920’s the demand for lobster started to increase. In 1836 the Burnham & Morrill Company, B&M, started to can lobster for sale and distribution all over the world.

Lobsters are caught in traps made of a wood or metal frame with netting. When a lobster is tricked by a trap’s bait he crawls into the traps second section where he becomes stuck. Presently, the minimum legal size of a lobster is 3 ¼ inches from the eye socket to the end of the body shell. This length allows female lobsters an increased opportunity to reproduce. Traps are connected to brightly painted buoys that float above the water marking the traps location; each lobsterman has his own special design distinguishing his traps. Modern lobsterman make use of many technologies including motor power, radar, depth sounders, and radio communication. Hydraulic haulers are also helpful as they save the lobsterman from hauling in traps by hand.

Lobsters like to eat a variety of fresh plants and animals like clams, sea urchins, and starfish. The four antennae located on a lobsters head along with the tiny hair that covers much of the lobsters body helps him to locate food; lobsters can detect motion but cannot clearly make out specific objects. The lobster has two big claws and eight walking legs. One claw is the crusher claw, which helps the lobster destroy something he wants to eat. The other claw is called the pincher or ripper claw and is used to tear food apart. When eating, the lobster’s walking legs actually move the food to his mouth. Oil spilled into the ocean causes lobsters to loose their appetite; when they consume man made chemicals such as insect killers, the effects are lethal.

When cooked a lobster becomes bright red in color, prior to which he is greenish brown with touches of orange and blue. A lobster’s shell consists of the three pigments blue, red, and yellow.