People Find Wild Lobster With Eeriest 'Tattoo' On His Shell

"I was like: ‘Oh, that’s a Pepsi can.'"

A lot of people have no idea just how much garbage there is in the ocean — it tends to drift to the shores of distant islands, or merge in free-floating patches of tiny "microplastics" — but what a fisherman recently pulled out of waters near New Brunswick, Canada, made the sheer scale of ocean pollution impossible to ignore.

Karissa Lindstrand was loading trapped lobsters into a crate when she spotted something eerily familiar on one claw. 

“I was like: ‘Oh, that’s a Pepsi can,’” Lindstrand, who drinks several cans of Pepsi per day, told The Guardian. “It looked like it was a print put right on the lobster claw.”

No one is sure exactly how the fragmentary image, which appears to be the top part of a can of Pepsi, got there — but Lindstrand noted the pixels of the image and observed that it couldn't have come from cardboard packaging because paper would have disintegrated in the water. 

One thing is for sure: This tattooed lobster is, unfortunately, far from being alone in living among human trash. 

“The Pepsi-tattooed lobster is an excellent example of just how polluted our oceans have become and how damaging trash can be to marine wildlife," Elizabeth Murdock, director of the Pacific Ocean initiative for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), told The Dodo. "Recent studies show that most sea turtles, albatross and other marine animals have ingested plastic, which can kill our beloved marine life."

Roughly 14 billion tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, and it's incredibly hard to clean it out. But there are some easy ways to prevent trashing the ocean, which the NRDC has compiled; these include no-brainers, like recycling and cutting down on buying bottled water, as well as less obvious actions, like avoiding buying face and body scrubs with plastic microbeads.

"We need smart policies that encourage manufacturers to move away from throw-away plastic," Murdock said. "[We need] individuals who understand the impacts our trash has on vulnerable marine life and make personal choices that help reduce the trash in our oceans.”

Lindstrand admitted that the lobster's claw made her think about just how much trash there is in the ocean that goes unseen: "We don’t see it floating around us when we’re out there,” she said. “I do see stuff along the shorelines that gets washed up on the beaches or the sides of the cliffs.”

As for the lobster, he was sold like all the others, regardless of his unique tattoo. “I’m really wishing I would have kept it now,” Lindstrand said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen something like that."

To help fight ocean trash, you can follow the NRDC's tips. You can also make a donation to its conservation work.