"Lincoln the Lobster" by Rick Charette
from the album "Toad Motel"
© 2002 Pinepoint Record Company


Published: Sunday, November 16, 1997

Bill Coppersmith says the traffic in his fish market here has never been so intense, ''what with visits by curious folks and the television and newspapers.''

Mr. Coppersmith, who has fished for lobster off Casco Bay for 20 years, looked over at his holding tanks and peered at the cause of all the attention.
''It's the white lobster,'' he said.    ''There's none anywhere else and now I've caught it and the whole world wants to have a look.''

Mr. Coppersmith, 40, held forth at his Fishermen's Net store (Now The Fishermen's Catch) in between interviews with reporters for London television and a Japanese newspaper.
He said he caught the white lobster on Monday morning and ''had to look twice before I believed it.''
The lobster weighs just more than a pound, and though it was earlier estimated by Mr. Coppersmith to be 7 years old, is now thought by him and others who fish for lobster to be closer to 20.
''When the trap broke the water, it just glowed,'' he said. ''It almost looked like a toy. Then, I looked it all over, and I realized this is for real, it's not painted or anything.''    Barney Hamlin, the store manager, said he and Mr. Coppersmith had telephoned nationwide but could not find another lobster like the white one, which they have named Lincoln.

At the University of Maine's Lobster Institute, Robert Bayer, the director, said that albino lobsters were extremely rare. He said he had seen one other specimen, near Kittery on the New Hampshire border, about 15 years ago.
Mr. Bayer, a professor of marine sciences at the University in Orono, said that the albino was the product of two lobsters with the albino trait and possessed a recessive gene trait that amounts to an absence of pigmentation.
Mr. Coppersmith has no plans to eat his lobster. But Mr. Bayer speculated that, if boiled, it would emerge from the pot a ''sort of cooked white gray -- not red.''

Photo: Bill Coppersmith said the albino lobster he has dubbed ''Lincoln'' glowed when he pulled it from the waters off Maine on Monday.

(Jack Milton/The Portland Press Herald)

*The Fishermen's Net in Raymond is now known as The Fishermen's Catch and is owned by Bill Coppersmith's son, Bill Jr.