A giant lobster claw found off the Welsh coast has sparked fears there is a monster shellfish out in the sea.
Oyster farmer Shaun Krijnen found the eight inch long pincer when he pulled in one of his oyster bags last week off the coast of Anglesey, north Wales.
Photographs show that the claw is significantly larger than a human hand and could be powerful enough to squash a tin can or break someone’s wrist.
A giant lobster claw found off the Welsh coast has sparked fears there is a monster shellfish out in the sea
Oyster farmer Shaun Krijnen found the eight inch long pincer when he pulled in one of his oyster bags last week off the coast of Anglesey, north Wales
Experts believe the lobster the claw was attached to is more than three ft in length and has grown since.
Typically, lobsters weigh around 3.5lbs but it is thought that the monster lobster weighs around 17lbs.
Mr Krijnen, 46, said: ‘Lobsters sometimes like to dig a little burrow under the oyster bags to moult or take refuge there.
‘I was on my last set of tides and I could tell there was something caught on the bag when I lifted it off the ground.
‘There under the bag was this huge crushing claw. I couldn’t believe the size of it. I also found the carapace, which is seven inches long.
‘Lobster growth rates are very variable but this one must be somewhere in its fifties at least.
‘I compared the claw with a 2.5lbs lobster I had and that one would be classed as quite large in a restaurant.
Experts believe the lobster the claw was attached to is more than three ft in length and has grown since
‘That claw, even though it is empty, weighs more than the other lobster.’
The crustacean is thought to be at least 50 years old and is three times the size of a standard lobster sold to fish restaurants.
Mr Krijnen also found the cast aside carapace – the bit of shell covering the lobster’s body from behind the head to the top of the tail.
It is estimated it would weigh about 17lbs, making it far too big for any pot and therefore unlikely to sell on as there is no market for a lobster that large.
But if there were it could feed 16 people and would cost almost £300 from a fishmonger.
Mr Krijnen added: ‘I started Menai Oysters 23 years ago and I’ve found big lobster claws before but never anything like this.
‘I compared it with the last big one I found and it completely dwarfs it.
‘I’ve showed it to the lads who work with me and they said they don’t want to put their hands under the bags anymore knowing that might be there.
‘It’ll definitely be king of the roost in the Menai Strait, any other lobster would just get eaten.
‘And of course it’s bigger than that now because it shed that shell to grow so it’s probably going on for a record breaking size.’
Lobsters grow by moulting their shells, which they shed intact. They do this by absorbing water which causes them to expand in size, pushing the old shell away.
Mr Krijnen added: ‘I started Menai Oysters 23 years ago and I’ve found big lobster claws before but never anything like this’ He is pictured with Julia Bradbury from when Bradbury was filming a Countryfile episode
After shedding they are left with a thin new shell that takes between six and eight weeks to harden, during which they tend to hide.
The current record for a European lobster was one caught off Fowey, Cornwall, in 1931. It measured 49 inches from claw to tail and weighed 20lbs 8oz.
Dr Charlie Ellis, a researcher at the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow, said: ‘A lobster with 187mm carapace is massive, I have never seen one that big.
‘We have had 150-160mm at the centre, so one of 187mm plus a moult which could mean potentially 200mm, is a monster.
‘There’s no reliable way of ageing lobsters because they regenerate all their tissue but based on its size I would agree it would have weigh about 8kg.
‘It is very unusual to get one that size. It’s amazing it’s not been scooped up or tangled in a net in all these years.
‘It should be strong and big enough to fight anything off and it’s great to think that he’s out there somewhere.’