A PUBLIC outcry has saved giant lobster Claws from the cooking pot.
Kind-hearted seafood firm boss Adrian Walsh was so moved by the public outcry over the plight of Claws -- who is 25-years-old and weighs a hefty 5kg -- that he waived a potentially record fee to return the lobster to the seas off east Cork.
The giant lobster was caught between Ballycotton and Kinsale off the Cork coast -- and his story, highlighted last week by the Herald, triggered a public outcry.
Claws featured on RTE's Derek Mooney Show -- and even made some Sunday newspapers.
Mr Walsh -- who runs Ballycotton Seafood -- was then swamped with calls from members of the public pleading for Claws to be set free.
"We were absolutely flooded with calls -- we had people ringing us offering to buy the lobster so he could be released back into the sea.
"We had one man who was adamant he wanted the lobster released in front of his children so they'd know he'd gone back to the sea," Mr Walsh said.
The giant had been expected to fetch €125 if sold to an Irish gourmet restaurant.
But Adrian and the Ballycotton Seafood team decided to return Claws to the wild.
"We released him given his age and his size -- and we put him back into the sea in an area where there weren't a lot of lobster pots to give him a decent chance," he added.
Claws is roughly six times the size of a normal lobster -- and weighs more than a terrier dog.
If he can keep his distance from tempting lobster pots, he could live for another 50 years and put on up to another 2-3kg in weight.
But he is way off the Irish record for the heaviest crustacean caught.
Last year, Cork fisherman Kevin Murphy caught a mammoth 6kg lobster, which he called Youghal, and returned him to the sea.