How to Travel With Lobsters

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Live lobsters require a moist, cold environment for safe transporting.
Live lobsters require a moist, cold environment for safe transporting. (Image: lobster image by pcphotos from Fotolia.com)

Freshly cooked lobster is a favorite dish for many people. The freshest way to prepare your lobster is to cook it while it is still alive. Transporting live lobsters can be a daunting task. American or Maine lobsters are marine crustaceans perfectly adapted for the cold saltwater environment off the coasts of New England. It is not an easy environment to recreate in your car, but with some simple tricks you can increase your chances of arriving at your destination with a healthy, living lobster.

Things You'll Need

  • Medium-size watertight container
  • Small watertight containers
  • Wet seaweed or towels soaked in sea water
  • Ice

Choose a healthy and active lobster. To ensure your lobster stays healthy and alive throughout your trip, it’s important to choose a lobster that is already in good condition. Look for lobsters that are active with a tail that curls under when the lobster is lifted.

Place in an open container. Never keep your lobster in an airtight container as it will suffocate. For travel, a small plastic container to prevent water leakage with ventilation holes or a loose top is ideal.

Add seaweed or seawater soaked towels to the container. Lobster gills must remain wet to prevent suffocation, but never submerge the lobster in water. Wet seaweed or towels (paper towels are fine) soaked in seawater, never fresh, will keep your lobster breathing comfortably.

Add ice to keep the temperature down. Lobsters who are kept cool use less oxygen and are less likely to dry out. Add ice to small watertight containers and place them in the container with your lobster. Ice or melted ice water can damage or kill your lobster, so make sure the ice is in a separate container that never touches your lobster.

Package each lobster individually. Lobsters under stress from traveling might fight with one another, leading to damage and possibly death. More than one lobster in a container will also use the oxygen and moisture more quickly, increasing the likelihood of arriving at your destination with several dead lobsters.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid traveling for longer than 24 hours with live lobsters.
  • The ideal shipping temperature is 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit with 100 percent humidity.
  • Live lobsters cannot be taken on planes.
  • Do not put live lobsters in fresh water; it will kill them quickly.

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