Saturday 22 September 2018

Catch of the day: Pat nets a giant lobster - but sets it free

Veteran fisherman Pat Murphy has the huge lobster examined by the BIM's Brenda O'Riordan. Photo: Niall Duffy/WestCorkPhoto
Veteran fisherman Pat Murphy has the huge lobster examined by the BIM's Brenda O'Riordan. Photo: Niall Duffy/WestCorkPhoto
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

It's an Irish version of 'The Old Man and the Sea' - except with a happier ending than Ernest Hemingway might have liked.

West Cork fisherman Pat Murphy (89) caught a whopping 3.8kg male lobster that experts estimate is between 30 and 35 years old.

Pat was out fishing with his grandson, Dean Murphy, off Beara when he was astounded by the size of his catch.

"He was a fine specimen all right," Pat explained.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) was notified and they sent its expert, Brenda O'Riordan, to examine the lobster, which measured an impressive 30in from claw to tail.

It is estimated the lobster was a youngster off the west Cork coast when President Ronald Reagan was still in the White House.

The lobster was returned to the wild after being specially marked with a 'V-notch' being placed in the tail.

Once 'V-notched' it is illegal to sell or buy such a lobster.

Intended as a conservation measure, Ms O'Riordan stressed that it is vital to help support breeding stocks.

"It is all about protecting lobster stocks off the coast," she said.

She paid tribute to Pat and Dean for supporting the voluntary programme.

Last year, 8,500 lobsters were returned to the wild in Cork alone after being 'V-notched'.

Irish Independent

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