Fisherman claims monster lobster is biggest caught in British waters for 80 years… even though he didn’t bother weighing it
Simon Sharp, 42, threw the creature, which measured more than 1m long, back into the sea after snapping it on his mobile phone. He did not want to risk its life by taking it to shore to be weighed and verified.
Experts say its huge claws – said to measure 35cm long and 15cm wide – could take off a human hand.
The Sharps were fishing when they noticed the female, believed to be more than 100 years old, caught up in their net off the coast of Dartmouth in Devon.
But the photographic evidence did little to support Mr Sharp’s case. Three years ago a teenager fishing off a pier in Deal Kent, hauled out a monster which looks much bigger than Mr Sharp’s catch.
Louie Smith, 16, who caught a giant lobster weighing 11lb 3oz off Deal pier, Kent on Sunday June 18, 2006
Louie Smith was 16 when he caught the 11lb 3oz giant.
Mr Sharp, of Dartmouth, said: ‘It was a great big barnacled old thing but it looked very old and sluggish so we decided it had to go back in quickly.
‘It was no good for eating – it would be as tough as old boots – and we didn’t want to stockpot it either.
‘It was huge. We couldn’t weight it but it was extremely heavy and it was over a metre long when we measured it.
‘He was pretty slow and docile, but a claw that size could still take your hand off. It was absolutely massive.’
Simon, a boat builder and part-time fisherman, ‘V-notched’ the creature’s tail so it would be illegal for other fisherman to take it again.
He caught the beast while he was out fishing last week with wife Lizzy, who bravely held the lobster while he took pictures on his mobile phone.
Lizzie added: ‘It was very big, but he was quite sluggish so we weren’t too worried about him.’ A spokeswoman from the Marine Conservation Society said: ‘This is massive lobster and one of this size is likely to be well over a century old.
‘It has probably just found a really good sheltered spot in the estuary and kept going. It’s definitely the biggest one we’ve heard of in this country, if not further afield.
‘It’s really good that they it back in, because the older lobsters are really important to the breeding stock, as they actually put more energy into reproduction as they get older, and it’s good to keep them going as lobsters are often, like cod, over-fished.’ The biggest lobster ever recorded weighed in at 44 pounds and was 1.06 metres long and was caught off the coast of Canada in 1977.
Europe’s biggest ever lobster, caught off Fowey in Cornwall in 1931, weighed 20lb and measured just over four feet.