Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lobster Smuggling

I grew up in New England and spent many summers on the beaches of New Hampshire and Maine. I remember my parents or grandparents often sending a dazed and blueish lobster to an untimely and most likely very painful death in a large pot of boiling water. I feel guilty about that now. While some may argue that the tail produces the best meat and others may wax on about the delicate joys of the lobster's tomalley, every kid knows that nothing beats the claws; big claws, full of juicy meaty that is easy to get at.

Which brings me to this story in which Customs & Border Protection participated in the interception of illegal lobster smuggling in Miami. It is not entirely clear where the lobsters originated, but it would appear that they are from the Bahamas or the surrounding waters. CBP seized 37 tails and zero claws. Why no claws? Because only true lobsters (what we like to call "Maine lobsters") have the really yummy claws. Most likely, these creatures were not even what a New Englander would call a lobster. They were probably spiny lobsters (also known as "rock lobsters," cue The B-52's). According to Wikipedia:

Although they superficially resemble true lobsters in terms of overall shape and having a hard carapace and exoskeleton, the two groups are not closely related. Spiny lobsters can be easily distinguished from true lobsters by their very long, thick, spiny antennae, and by their complete lack of claws (chelae); true lobsters have much smaller antennae and claws on the first three pairs of legs, with the first being particularly enlarged.

And nothing beats a particularly enlarged lobster claw with a bit of melted butter, corn on the cob, a few recently deceased steamed clams, and a cold Bar Harbor Real Ale.

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