Consider Larry the Lobster: the very large lobster has avoided being eaten, appeared on television, and can now look forward to a new home in Maine— although PETA has asked for it to be released back into the ocean. 

The lobster’s time in the spotlight began in mid July, when the crustacean, who weighs almost 15 pounds, was purchased by Joe Melluso, a restaurant owner in Florida. At that time, according to a local report, the lobster was destined to be eaten.

"We could feel bad about it, but when I saw him today I figured that I'd rather be the guy to buy him and have him in my restaurant than someone else," Melluso told a local television.

But Larry— the name the lobster has been given— has dodged a bullet.

That’s because a group called iRescue and local Florida businesses decided to save him, and now, instead of being on a dinner plate, Larry will be in the hands of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, which runs the Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor.


Jeff Nichols, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, told that he didn’t think the lobster had yet arrived at its destination.

Once it does get there, Nichols said they would “assess its health” and also quarantine it. He said that a lobster of that weight is “a good size,” but that it likely wouldn’t have come from Maine, where size restrictions prevent lobstermen from taking crustaceans that are too big. He thinks it probably came from Canada.  

The final twist in Larry’s journey comes from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has sent a missive to the aquarium asking them to set the "old-timer" free.

“Lobsters are smart, unique individuals who feel pain and suffer in captivity,” Tracy Reiman, executive vice president for PETA, said in a statement. “PETA is calling on the Maine State Aquarium to let this elderly crustacean live out his golden years in freedom and peace.”

Nichols, of the Maine Department of Maine resources, told that they didn’t currently have a plan one way or the other as to how to respond to PETA’s request.

Follow Rob Verger on Twitter: @robverger