A 132-year-old Atlantic Lobster named Louie spent the last 20-odd years in the lobster tank at a Long Island restaurant before escaping the pot (with a little help) and returning to the ocean.
To say Louie's return to the primeval sea is long overdue is an understatement, even considering the 22-pounder's two “lost decades” in full view of hungry diners. It took one particularly persistent customer to finally force his captor's hand, however, and we mean that in a GOOD way.
“He was trying to negotiate with me,” stated Butch Yamali, owner of Peter's Clam Bar in Hempstead, New York, who turned down the customer's $1,000 offer. “He said, ‘I want to bring it home for a Father's Day feast.’ I mean, that would've been some impressive feast. But I didn't want to sell it. It's like a pet now, I couldn't sell it.”
Luckily for Louie, Yamali had another option: granting Louie “amnesty” and inviting town authorities to attend his ceremonial release. It wasn't an easy decision, however. “He's the largest and oldest of all my lobsters,” stated Yamali. “It's happy and sad.”
So it was that on Friday, June 16th (a day after NYC's official National Lobster Day), Louie was taken via speedboat to a lobster-friendly location just off the Atlantic beach reef.
“Today I'm announcing an official pardon for Louie the Lobster,” intoned Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino. “Louie may have faced a buttery fate on a seafood lover's plate, but today we are here to return Louie to a life that is better down where it's wetter.” Truer words were never spoken.
Louie, who lost a claw years ago and now sports a diminished regeneration, is expected to thrive in his natural habitat. “He'll be just fine. There aren't many predators who want to eat a big old lobster like that,” explained Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute in Maine. “Hopefully, he finds a mate — and lives happily ever after.” (via New York Post)