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Enormous Lobster Rescued From Florida Restaurant

PETA wants to see it released into the wild

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The New York Culinary Experience
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

It’s lobster season: a good time of year for lovers of delicate lobster meat-filled rolls and a bad time of year for fan-tailed crustaceans. However, at least one lucky clawed creature will not meet its end in an Annie Hall-esque pot of boiling water. The Associated Press reports that concerned citizens this week coordinated the complicated rescue of one massive 15-pound, decades old lobster from Sunrise, Florida’s Tin Fish restaurant.

According to the Portland Press Herald, chef/owner Joe Melluso plucked the lobster (who’s since been dubbed "Larry") from a Maine lobster tank on Monday morning. Recognizing that the lobster was far larger than the average, Melluso decided to contact a TV station for a little press before turning Larry into lobster salad.

During the broadcast the chef estimated, based on an unproven method for calculating a lobster’s age, that the massive crustacean was around 110 years old. Still, Larry’s brief moment in the spotlight turned heads and Melluso soon received a call from an animal rescue group iRescue, offering to help save the lobster from the dinner plate. According to the Miami Herald, representatives purchased Larry for $300 and arranged to have him shipped to the Maine State Aquarium wrapped in a frozen, salt water-soaked towel.

While this might seem to be a happy end for Larry, some still aren’t satisfied with the hefty lobster living out his days in captivity. PETA has since issued a release urging the aquarium to free the lobster back to the ocean:

Lobsters, like dolphins and many other animals, use complicated signals to explore their surroundings and establish social relationships. They also take long-distance seasonal journeys, traversing 100 miles or more each year. Scientists have determined that lobsters, like all animals, can feel pain, and when kept in tanks, they suffer from the stress associated with confinement.

The animal rights organization cites one other instance in 2012 when the aquarium freed another large lobster — 27-pound Rocky — into the murky waters from whence it came. Rocky and and Larry aren’t the only lobsters who’ve received a pardon from the plate. Last July, a Long Island-area seafood restaurant donated an impressive 23-pound lobster to the local aquarium.

Old Lobster Spared the Pot, Will Retire to Maine Aquarium [AP]

105-Year-Old Lobster Gets Saved From Supper Table and Heads Back to Maine [Miami Herald]

Larry the Lobster, Clawing at 15 Minutes of fame, Is Headed to Maine [Portland Press Herald]

Aquarium Urged to Release 110-Year-Old Lobster Back Into Ocean [PETA]

All Lobster Coverage [E]

Watch: How to break down a Lobster