Skipper Micheal O’Toole (right) and crewman Darren O’Toole holding the Giant Box Crab  (Credit: The Mayo News)

A rare giant crab has died in the National Aquarium in Galway just days after it caught off the coast of Mayo.

The large box crab, which measured 43 inches from claw to claw, was hauled by fisherman Michael O’Toole last week in 70 meters of water a mile off the coast of Innisboffin, reports the Mayo News.

The crab was then taken to the National Aquarium in Salthill in Galway where it later died.

Kevin O’Hara, Manager of the National Aquarium said that the stress of being removed form its natural habitat may have killed the sea creature.

“The first 24 hours are critical to whether it will survive or not,” Kevin explained. “We have no idea why it died, but stress may have been the main factor. We were hopeful it would have survived, but unfortunately it did not. It was a very unusual crab, very rare, and it was a big catch.”

O’Toole, the fisherman who made the catch, was disappointed to hear about the crabs death.

“I have been fishing for over 40 years and I never seen anything like it before in my life,” he told The Mayo News.

“We were fishing for cray fish when he got caught in our nets and when we hauled him in, I knew we had caught something special. When we brought him ashore there was great excitement with the young people wanting to have a look at it. People living off the island were looking forward to seeing it and we were terribly disappointed when we got the call from Galway that it died.”