Today I found a ‘berried’ lobster in my lobster tank. A berried lobster is a female lobster with fertilized eggs held on the underside of her abdomen. These eggs hatch into lobster larvae that eventually grow into the adult lobsters most people recognize. I’m not sure if she was berried when I got my shipment of lobsters from our local commercial fisherman (berried females typically cover their eggs with their tail at all times, so they can be hard to spot unless you manually uncurl the tail), or if she released the eggs from her internal cavity while in our tank these past few weeks.
So what to do if you find a berried female? Well you want to release the lobster in the wild so the eggs can hatch. But first you make a v-notch in the tail, so that if she is caught again the fisherman will know she was a successfully egg-bearing female and release her. Maine lobster management regulations prohibit the capturing and selling of v-notched lobsters so that reproductively active adult females stay in the wild and continue to maintain the local lobster population.
After we marked our berried female, we released her into the ocean on the rocky shore outside of the NU Marine Science Center. Lots of lobsters live in the area around our facility, so this is an appropriate release site for our lobster.
Goodbye, lobster, and good luck!