Rockland's 70th Annual Maine Lobster Festival came to a close on Sunday. The festival is held every year on the first weekend of August, celebrating the crustacean our state is so well-known for. It’s run exclusively by volunteers, with more than 1,100 people helping each year. Knowing how beneficial the festival is to the community, the Maine Credit Union League has been a proud sponsor of the festival for years. Since 1947, the Maine Lobster Festival has given more than $500,000 to midcoast Maine’s communities. With 20,000 pounds of lobster, a cooking contest, a big parade, fine art and top notch entertainment, the festival is a recipe for a good time year after year! In light of another successful festival, I’ve decided to put together a list of things you may not know about lobster.
They Were Once Considered Garbage Food
Lobster was primarily used as fertilizer and fish bait until the early 1900s. Only the poor and prisoners ate lobsters because they were cheap and too plentiful. However, after lobsters started being shipped worldwide, many developed a taste for it and it became known as a luxury food.
They Never Stop Growing
Lobsters can live up to 100 years and never stop growing. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest lobster ever caught weighed 44 pounds and was found in Nova Scotia in 1977. The largest Maine lobster ever caught weighed in at 27 pounds and was released back into the ocean.
They Sometimes Eat Each Other
Lobsters will eat each other if they get hungry enough. If there isn’t any fresh food around, then another lobster becomes dinner. Lobster farms are scarce and not very profitable for this exact reason, and is why most of them are caught out in the ocean.
They Don’t Have Tongues
In lieu of tongues, they identify and taste their food with chemosensory leg and feet hairs. And when they eat, they don’t chew their food in their mouths. Instead, they grind up and chew their food in their stomachs.
They Carry Their Young for Nine Months
Like humans, they carry their young for nine months. However, unlike humans, the female lobster can decide exactly when she wants her eggs to be fertilized. She can wait up to two years after mating to decide to begin the process.
They Have Two Different Claws
The larger claw is called the “crusher” and the smaller is called the “shredder.” A pinch from the “crusher” claw can exert pressure of up to 100 pounds per square inch. But wait, not all lobsters have claws. Some lobsters come from the Caribbean and are caught for their tail meat. However, most lobsters sold in the U.S come from Maine or Canada. Maine yields 40 million pounds of lobster annually, which is nearly 90% of the nation’s lobster supply.
They Play Golf
Okay, wait – they don’t actually play golf, but their shells are used to make golf balls. Most lobster shells are usually tossed into landfills. In an effort to make them worth something and keep more money in the lobster industry, a professor from UMaine created golf balls with a core made out of lobster shells. They are biodegradable and are designed for driving golf balls off of cruise ships, or for use on courses near the ocean or lakes. They only go about 70% of the distance of a regular golf ball, but it’s still a fun idea.
Do you like lobster? I’d love to know!