Swedes shell out for season’s first lobster

Swedes shell out for season's first lobster
Meet Pontus Johansson and his lobster. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT
Sweden's first lobster of the season has been snapped up for 20,000 kronor ($2,343).

The pricey crustacean, a 0.96-kilo female, was bought at the famed Gothenburg Fish Auction by fish monger Pontus Johansson, from Billdal south of the western Swedish city.

He bought it on behalf of “a customer” but would not reveal their identity to the TT newswire.

“It is a lot of fun to buy the first lobster. Last year I gave up and the customer was very disappointed. This year we had decided that we would just go for it,” he said.

“It is special, and it was a very nice lobster this year, a lagom-sized female.”

The auction got under way at 7am on Tuesday, with the first lobster sold in the company of two other beasts part of the same crate – landed by a boat from West Coast island Tjörn.

The decision as to which crate goes under the hammer first is determined by a lottery among the boats who hauled in the catch on Monday, the opening day of lobster fishing season.

While still pretty impressive, 20,000 kronor seems more like a bargain when you compare it to the record 102,000 kronor per kilo paid for the season's first lobster in 2012. The buyer then justified the sum by responding “first is always first” when quizzed by Swedish media.

Waiting for the lobster auction to begin. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

The European lobster is relatively small and delicate compared to its larger American cousin, which Swedes have been trying to block with a proposed ban on EU imports of live American lobsters.

More than 30 American lobsters have been discovered off Sweden's west coast in recent years and Sweden fears that it could threaten the European lobster's survival.

It has gone so far that researchers at a marine centre in Lysekil have now offered a finder's fee of 500-1000 kronor to anyone who brings in an American lobster caught in Swedish waters, reports the Expressen newspaper.