After spending 20 years waiting for death, a lobster named Louie was recently given a new lease on life. Louie called the tank at Peter’s Clam Bar, a Long Island eatery, home for two decades before being released back into the wild last month. It’s been estimated that this giant lobster weighing more than 20 lbs. was in excess of 130 years old.
Yes, apparently lobsters can live for a very long time. Scientists have found that lobsters don’t show signs of aging, which could mean that a lobster may live forever if it’s not killed or malnourished. The oldest captive lobster on record was 140 years of age. So Louie may not have set any records, but he did something that so few lobsters before him have done: Escape with his life.
Louie was released ceremoniously by Peter’s Clam Bar owner Butch Yamali near Atlantic Beach. The Hempstead, NY town supervisor was even on hand to award the lobster with an official pardon. While this may just sound silly to some people, I think it’s pretty cool. I mainly like it because an animal’s life was spared. Add in the fact that Yamali was offered $1,000 by a patron hoping to eat Louie just two weeks prior to the lobster’s release, and suddenly you’ve got a real lobster interest story.
I can remember being a kid in New York and feeling a pang of sympathy every time I saw a tank full of lobsters. Whether it be in a restaurant or a supermarket, I gazed upon these crustaceans piled onto one another and felt that something about it was wrong. This was surely one instance of foreshadowing for the vegetarianism of my adulthood.
When I discovered a lobster that spent two decades in death’s waiting room only to avoid the promise of a boiling pot of water, I felt as though there was some justice in this world. I guess twenty years doesn’t seem like that long when you’re a centenarian crustacean, but it’s still pretty amazing that Louie avoided being eaten for so long. I hope he enjoys his remaining years as a free lobster. Lobsters retain their fertility as they age, and he’s got a lot of time to make up for.