Summer visitors free giant P.E.I. lobster from old trap

TC Media
Published on July 30, 2014

The rescue of a massive lobster from a hidden trap off Twin Shores beach this weekend drew quite a crowd.

Expatriate annual summer cottager Ryan Palmer and family were at his family’s cottage as usual on Saturday. Twin Shores is in the Darnley area off Malpeque Bay.

“I’m out swimming all the time, in front of our cottage,” said Palmer after sending photos of the rescue to The Guardian.

“I just saw this big, black thing on the bottom of the bay and I went down and saw a box,” said Palmer.

“I was all excited, thinking what is this. It was all overgrown with moss and seaweed and stuff. I got down to it and realized it was a lobster trap.”

He called his cousin over, they got masks and snorkels and soon realized there was a big lobster in the trap.

“I figured it was dead,” said Palmer. “It looked like it had been trapped, half buried in the sand. We started poking in there and it started moving.”

They could plainly see that the huge lobster was caught in what seemed to be an abandoned, half buried but strangely unique trap.

“It didn’t look like the usual traps you see around,” said Palmer. “We didn’t know who to call, or what, so we figured we would start digging it out.”

That took two days of work in the 10 to 15 feet of water. They dragged out tools, like a crow bar and dug the trap out of the sand and dragged it ashore Saturday.

The big lobster was still alive, said Palmer.

“It was a female, very pregnant, and there were other lobsters in there,” he said.

He said there were crabs and fish and other lobsters all around the trap as they dug it out of the sand.

There was no evidence of a tag and the trap doors were all secure. In fact, the flap that opens to take out lobsters was still too small for the monster lobster to be taken out by hand, so they had to cut back the wire mesh to make the opening bigger, said Palmer.

“There was a whole bunch of people coming along, wanting to take a look. It grew in there, tied up in all the wiring and mesh. We had to cut all that out and pry the top off it to got the lobster out.

“He was pretty feisty still,” said Palmer. “It’s the biggest one I have ever seen.

“I think it crawled in there, was eating and getting bigger. There was a lot of growth on the trap so it was almost like it was a little cave for the lobster and it was eating other stuff and just kept getting bigger. There was a whole lot of barnacles growing on it.”

Palmer said he saw no evidence of any moult shells.

“Who knows how long it was in there. We didn’t know if we would get in trouble with the fisheries but we were thinking it was a trapped lobster that was going to die in there.”

Palmer got on his mask and snorkel again, set all the lobsters back in the water and watched while swimming along.

“It turned and swam right straight back out and I followed it until I lost sight of it,” he said. “It picked up speed as it went. She knew exactly where to go. The more it went it was getting its legs back and getting pretty feisty again. I’m sure it was feeling better and I’m certain it is doing good right now.”