Rescuing Reno the 80 Year Old Lobster From the Desert
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
As fortune would have it, an opportunity fell into my hands yesterday to celebrate the passage of the European Bill to Ban Seal Products.
The Canadian sealers are always harping on about why we only protect the cute and the pretty animals. They conveniently ignore our campaigns to protect sharks, cod, sea cucumbers and, well, lobsters. They tend to see what they want to see to fit into their propaganda of what a baby seal protector should be in their eyes.
And so yesterday, I received a message on MySpace from a kind woman who directed my attention to an 80-year-old lobster being held on death row in a tank at Butcher Boy Meat and Deli in Reno, Nevada of all places.
Apparently this 12-pound lobster was in a shipment of normal size lobsters received by the Deli and stood out from the crowd.
And I thought well, here's a chance to return a gift to the sea in appreciation for the incredible victory over the horrific Canadian seal slaughter by the passage of the Bill by the European Union to ban seal products.
And what better way to do it than to rescue an animal that the sealers consider ugly and who they believe we don't care about because they think it's ugly.
I don't think they are ugly. In fact, I happen to think that they are ruggedly good looking.
Lobsters and I go a long way back. I was raised in the lobster fishing town of St. Andrews By the Sea on the shores of the Passamaquoddy Bay in the Canadian Province of New Brunswick. I actually had two pet lobsters when I was a kid, who I named them Flounderface and Bugeye. I had them for a few weeks and eventually let them go when my father made threats about dropping them in the cooking pot.
I admit to eating lobsters as a kid. You could always tell the poor kids in my town. We were the ones who took the lobster sandwiches to school on homemade bread desperately trying to trade them, without much luck for exotic baloney on Wonder bread. I haven't eaten a lobster for decades and regret those that I did, so this release is also my way of repenting for the culinary sins of my childhood.
I watched the steady decline of these fascinating creatures that can live up to a century and half. It's rare to find any elders these days. Most lobsters barely reach the age of sexual maturity around seven years of age before being captured in a trap and tossed into a pot to be boiled alive.
Imagine living 80 years in the ocean just to end up in some Casino buffet in Reno, Nevada as status food for people in the desert.
I knew as soon as I heard about it that I had to get this guy out of the tank and back to Maine where he came from.
So I bought him yesterday and not with Sea Shepherd money sent to save whales. No, I bought him myself. He wasn't cheap at $23 per pound and at 12 pounds that was $277.
It's not going to be cheap to fly to Reno to get him and to ship him as fast as possible by Fed Ex to Maine where he will be released, hopefully into a marine sanctuary and hopefully far away from the minefield of lobster traps that can make life for a lobster in Maine very short.
But I figured this guy must be pretty damn smart to have avoided the traps for 80 years and he fell into the last one by just sheer bad luck. I'm hoping he won't make that mistake again.
(If anyone wants to help adopt Reno the Lobster - send a donation to Sea Shepherd at P.O. Box 2616, Friday Harbor, WA, 98250.) I'll send you a certificate of adoption for Reno the Rescued Nevada Lobster. And your money won't actually go to repay me for buying Reno, that's my donation but I will put it towards our campaign to save that other unattractive (to some) sea-animal - the shark. So adopt Reno and help save sharks and your donation will be tax deductible.
Today I'm off to Reno, Nevada and I'll keep you all posted on the Rescue of Reno from a boiling death in the desert of Nevada and his excellent adventure back home to Maine.