Although determining the age of a lobster can be challenging, these crustaceans live between 40 and 50 years in the wild. Unlike most animals, lobsters tend to continue growing until they die, and their metabolism, strength, and reproductive ability do not decrease with age. Historically, scientists estimated the age of a lobster based on size, but more recent research discovered that most crustaceans, including lobsters, grow one ring each year in certain hidden spots, such as gastric mills and eyestalk. The oldest known lobster in the world based on size was named George.
George the Lobster
George is an American lobster (Atlantic lobster) that was briefly owned by the City Crab and Seafood restaurant in New York City, USA. The lobster was caught in December 2008 in Newfoundland, Canada, and later released into the ocean in January 2009. When caught, George made national headlines for supposedly being the oldest lobster ever caught. George weighed 20 pounds and his age was estimated at 140 years based on his size, which placed his year of birth at 1869. After becoming the restaurant's attraction and mascot for a period of 10 days, George was eventually released back into the wild. Although some scientists claim that lobsters cannot live for more than 100 years, Keith Valenti, the restaurant's manager, insists lobsters of this age are fairly common. However, George was the biggest lobster Valenti had seen in his 12 years in the lobster business.
Capture of George the Lobster
George the lobster was caught in 2008 by fishermen off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. He was sold to the City Crab and Seafood restaurant located on Park Avenue South, New York, USA, and arrived at the restaurant on New Year’s Eve. According to manager Keith Valenti, the restaurant did not intend to sell the lobster but planned to use him to draw attention to the restaurant. It was at the restaurant that the lobster was named George, a name given to him by a young patron.
Release of George the Lobster
George spent ten days in the tank and under the care of the restaurant. However, two customers noticed the lobster and became concerned. As a result, they contacted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and informed them of the lobster. The organization lobbied for George’s freedom and eventually convinced the restaurant to return George to the wild. Valenti initially refused the request, but later agreed, suggesting that it was the right thing to do. George was taken to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where a crustacean expert could help ease his transition back into the ocean. The large lobster was then transferred to Maine, and released into the water near the town of Kennebunkport on January 10, 2009. The point of release was selected because lobster fishing is not allowed in that area.