Desventuradas Expedition: Where Giant Lobsters Roam

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala is setting off on his first big expedition of the year: to explore the remote islands of Desventuradas, hundreds of miles off the coast of Chile. Follow his adventures throughout the month.

25 February 2013

The Juan Fernández lobster (Jasus frontalis) is the only species targeted by a specific fishery at the Desventuradas Islands. Fishermen from Juan Fernández travel more than 500 nautical miles to fish them during a short season. Adult Juan Fernández lobsters are typically deep – generally between 60 and 150 meters – while their juvenile are at scuba diving depths. With our submarine DeepSee we observed many adult lobsters deep, but we could not believe how large they were. So we did some deep rebreather dives to try to see some from up close – and still, it was hard to believe how huge those monster lobsters were. These photos show a lobster we filmed and measured. Yours truly is behind it in one of the photos. It was 54 cm (21 inches) from head to tail, without the spines, and almost 7 kg (15 pounds). These are the largest lobsters I’ve seen in my life. Everywhere else, lobsters are much smaller, mainly because they are fished intensely. The Desventuradas are remote and only lightly fished, and still harbor what appears to be one of the healthiest lobster populations in the Pacific.

NEXT: A Surprise Stowaway

The Desventuradas are lightly fished and home to the healthiest lobster populations in the Pacific. (Photos by Manu San Félix)
The Desventuradas are lightly fished and home to the healthiest lobster populations in the Pacific. (Photos by Manu San Félix)

 

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Follow All Desventuradas 2013 Blog Posts

Enric Sala’s Pristine Seas Expeditions

Desventuradas Blogs en Español

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Marine ecologist Dr. Enric Sala is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who combines science, exploration and media to help restore marine life. Sala’s scientific publications are used for conservation efforts such as the creation of marine protected areas. 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum.