A local skipper knew he came across something special when he landed this rare and exotic Slipper Lobster while fishing off the Galway coast.
The extremely rare Slipper Lobster was found recently off Ros a Mhil near the Aran Islands and is now being cared for by Galway Atlantaquaria.
This is the first recorded landing of this species this far into the Atlantic north. Slipper Lobsters are bottom dwelling creatures usually found throughout the Mediterranean. Over the last decade there has been a couple of reports of the species being caught off Kerry and a pregnant Slipper lobster was landed off Cork in 2007.
Skipper John Connolly of the ‘Connacht Ranger’ from Kilronan on Inis Mor, and landed this exotic catch off Ros a Mhil. The Skipper knew he had landed something rare and so he contacted the Marine Institute to report his find.
The lobster was identified by Turloch Smith of the Marine Institute and handed over to Galway Atlantaquaria who are now caring for the 77mm lobster who has been named ‘Tréan’.
“My nieces and nephews were very excited about the Slipper Lobster, and named it Tréan, which is an old Irish word for hardy and brave and usually associated with warriors. The fact it was so small, came so far north, and survived being towed up in a big net full of spurdogs, stones and prawns does make the name seem pretty apt” said Mr Connolly.
Turloch Smith from the Marine Institute said: “I was so surprised to identify the species landed in Ros a Mhil as the Slipper Lobster. The Slipper Lobster Scyllarus arctus species is distributed throughout the Mediterranean and is found bottom dwelling on the continental shelf eating food like oysters and molluscs”.
Tréan was placed into quarantine and assigned his very own aquarist to look after him. After a week of isolation and intensive screening the Slipper Lobster was introduced into the Aquarium and is now progressing very well.