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Rare two-toned lobster caught off the coast of Maine

Lobsterman Ben Murdock caught the uncommon crustacean near Monhegan Island.
By Evan Bleier Follow @itishowitis Contact the Author   |   May 13, 2014 at 12:59 PM

MONHEGAN ISLAND, Maine, May 13 (UPI) -- A Maine fisherman caught an uncommon crustacean last week, but he was forced to throw it back because its length was less than legal.

Lobsterman Ben Murdock caught a rare two-toned lobster near Monhegan Island, but he tossed it back because it was too short, his little brother told the Huffington Post. "No matter how rare, a good lobsterman throws back an illegal lobster," Kyle Murdock said.

Last year, the Bangor Daily News reported that officials at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute said that "split-colored lobsters are estimated to occur only once out of every 50 million or more." According to the institute, white-colored lobsters are the rarest of the rare and only make up one out of every 100 million of the crustaceans.

"It certainly is a rare thing [to find a discolored lobster], and when they catch them on a lobster boat, everybody stops what they're doing and takes a look," Carl Wilson, state lobster biologist with the Department of Marine Resources, told the BDN.

That's what should have happened when 30-year-old Murdock pulled his split-colored lobster aboard his boat right? Not so fast.

According to Diane Cowan, the executive director of Maine's Lobster Conservancy, the one in 50 million lobsters number that would theoretically apply to Murdock's two-toned lobster is "pure guesswork."

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