Cruise-Ship Diners: Tossing Lobsters Overboard?
Experts: It could be effort to 'save' the crustaceans
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2014 5:00 PM CST
In this Monday, May 21, 2012 file photo, sternman Scott Beede, returns an undersized lobster while checking traps in Mount Desert, Maine.    (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

(Newser) – Sensitive cruise-ship diners may be ordering lobster and having it tossed overboard in a "misguided effort of animal rights activism," Fox News reports. If true, experts say, it would explain why fishermen are finding Canadian lobsters off the coast of Northern England—some with elastic bands still around their claws. The problem: Homarus Americanus, which usually inhabit Atlantic waters off the North American coast, may not gel with lobsters some 3,500 miles away. "In fact they can do a lot of damage," a skipper tells the Yorkshire Post, adding that he last saw a Canadian lobster in British waters a couple of years ago. "I think it’s a good idea to study them as they could be giving English lobsters a disease."

Experts say the traveling crustaceans either won't be able to interbreed or will create infertile offspring with local lobsters, the Daily Mail reports. And "they won't last much longer than if the passengers had eaten them for dinner," says Mike Cohen, a fishing industry rep. Cohen has heard on "common frequency radio" that cruise-ship passengers "buy a lobster from the live tanks and then ask the waiter to throw them overboard rather than eating it. The only ones that are found are large, plate-sized lobster." A fishing group and Hull University have agreed to study whether the dinner-escapees pose a health threat to local lobsters—but Cohen admits that a threat is unlikely. "This has been going on for a long time now and it does not seem to have happened," he tells the Telegraph.