Parsons Lobsters and Seafood Shop
64 Eagle Lake Road, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
Call (207) 288-4736

Lobster Facts

  • Each Female Lobster can lay between 5,000 and 160,000 eggs.
  • Lobsters migrate to deeper waters offshore in the winter.
  • Years ago, lobsters were not considered good eating. They were so plentiful that after a large storm they would often wash up on shore and be collected to be used as fertilizer in island gardens.
  • There are left and right handed lobsters, some have their large (crusher) claw on the right, and some have it on the left
  • Lobsters are caught in wood or wire traps, called pots. These nocturnal bottom-dwelling crustaceans crawl into the traps lured by bait, usually herring or ground fish, suspended in a mesh bag in the second of the trap's chambers or parlor. Traps are set in anywhere from 30 to over 200 feet of water.
  • What are Lobster Buoys?
    A trap's position is marked by a wood or Styrofoam buoy, which floats on the surface, holding the line that leads down to the trap. Each lobster fisherman has his own unique color code for his buoys. By law no two are alike. Color combinations may be the same but patterns and designs must be different.

Arriving at a buoy the fisherman "gaffs" the line with a hooked pole and passes it over a pulley and through a hydraulic winch. After raising the trap to the gunwale or edge of the boat, the lobsterman opens the trap and removes the lobsters.

  • Measuring the Lobster
    Using a special gauge, the fisherman carefully measures his catch, returning any that are too big, or too small to the sea. After removing the lobsters, the trap is emptied of other sea creatures such as starfish, crabs, and sea urchins, before the trap is rebaited and sent back to the bottom of the sea.

Lobster Fishing

Lobster Links

How to Cook Lobster


How to Eat a Lobster
(courtesy of Gulf of Maine Research Institute)

What better place to discuss lobster anatomy than at the dinner table? The first thing to do when your cooked lobster arrives is turn it over and announce whether it is a male or a female. How can you tell?

Eating a lobster: step 1 Most people start by breaking off the legs. Holding the lobster by the back, gently pull off the legs with a twisting motion.

Don't throw these away: there are plenty of delicious morsels inside!

Back to Top

Tear off the front claws Next, take off the claws, which are also called chelipeds.

Back to Top

Tear off claws at first joint Tear them off at the first joint, again with a gentle twisting motion, and note that the crusher claw usually is bigger than the tearing claw.

Back to Top

Start with the claws..... Gently remove the loose part of the claw. Again, check for especially tasty morsels in small parts!

Back to Top

cracking the claw's tipUsing a nutcracker, break off the tip of the large section of claw, revealing the meat.

Back to Top

Push the meat out of the claw With your forefinger, push the meat from the tip of the claw out the larger open end.

Back to Top

Next, turn to the tail..... Grasp the tail portion with one hand, and the back with the other hand.

Twist to separate the two sections.

Back to Top

Twist off the telsons After that, turn to the end of the tail which has small flippers, or telsons, at the base.

These provide tasty if miniscule chunks of meat to those who don't mind a little extra work.

Back to Top

getting the meat out of the tail Arguably, the best part of the lobster (the debate rages between tail lovers and claw lovers) is the tail meat.

Then insert your fingers into the telson end to push the tail meat out intact through the larger opening.

Back to Top

Peel off the top of the tail meat... Peel off the top of the tail to reveal the digestive tract, which should be removed before eating the rest of the tail meat.

Back to Top

inside the carapace Intrepid diners who explore further find small chunks of meat inside the carapace, the hard shell or body of the lobster.

Back to Top

*** Notice the mouth parts, antennae, antennules, and rostrum or beak ... all of which are inedible. ***

should you eat the tomalley? They may also encounter the gills, the circulation system, and green "tomalley"(the digestive gland) and in a female lobster, red "coral" or "roe" (the unfertilized eggs). Hard-core lobster lovers eat the latter two.

Back to Top

What's the green stuff?

It's the lobster's liver or more accurately, its digestive system. Although many people like to eat the "tomalley" it probably isn't a good idea because this is where pollution in the lobster's own meal choices would become concentrated in the lobster's body.

What's the red stuff?

It's the roe, the unfertilized eggs of the female. Lobster eggs were once considered a delicacy, like caviar. The roe is also called "coral" because of its bright red color.

Back to Top

Riddles, Trivia and More

Lobstermen have a language all their own. Stump your friends with lobster riddles, with vocabulary words drawn from the trade books, such as,

What do you call a female lobster? .......A hen.
When is a lobster a chicken? .....When it weighs about one pound.
When is a lobster a pistol (or a dummy or a cull)? .......When it has no claws.
Why wouldn't a lobsterman with shorts on want to meet a marine patrol officer? .......He has lobsters that don't meet the legal size.
Why do lobstermen wear yellow suspenders? ...... To hold their pants up.
Why shouldn't a lobster walk into the
kitchen? ......It's the first chamber of a lobster trap. (The inner chamber is called the bedroom or parlor.)

Back to Top

How can you tell a male from a female?

The swimmerets, the small feathery appendages on the underside of the tail, will provide the answer. The first pair of swimmerets closest to the body are hard and bony on a male, and soft and feathery like the rest of the swimmerets, on a female. Only the female has a small rectangular shield between her second pair of walking legs. This is the sperm receptacle where she stores the sperm after mating until she lays her eggs. A female also has a wider tail than a comparably-sized male. She needs the breadth for carrying all those eggs.

Back to Top

How do you hypnotize a lobster?

To hypnotize a lobster, stand it on its head with its claws laid out in front of it and its tail curled inward. Rub your hand up and down the carapace making sure to rub between the eyes. Eventually it may stand by itself. (Whoever thought of this must have been really starved for excitement.)

Back to Top

Why are lobsters banded?

Crowded into tight quarters, lobsters become especially cannibalistic, which is why they must be banded in a lobster pound or store displays.

Lobster bands are small and strong. Lobster harvesters use a special tool that resembles a pair of pliers to open the rubber band to slip it over the lobster's claw

Back to Top

Why don't lobstermen use wooden pegs anymore?

Years ago, lobstermen used wooden or plastic pegs inserted into the base of the claws to prevent lobsters from opening them. When they did so, they broke the protective skin or integument of the lobster. Disease-causing bacteria could attack the lobster through this lesion.

Back to Top

Why do lobstermen release a berried female?

Because berries are eggs and females with eggs are released so the eggs can hatch. The eggs spend at least ten months on the female. The colder the water, the longer the eggs take to hatch. A berried female is also marked with a V-notch in her tail so if she is caught again the lobsterman knows she was an egg-bearing female and releases her.

Back to Top