Giant Octopus
6:51 am
Tue April 16, 2013

New Protections Proposed For Giant Pacific Octopus in Puget Sound

Host Intro: The harvesting of a giant Pacific octopus near Alki Beach in Seattle last October prompted a public outcry. Now the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering new protections for octopuses. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

  

A giant Pacific octopus on display at the Seattle Aquarium. The species' population is considered healthy in Puget Sound. Public outcry over legal octopus hunting near Seattle's Alki Beach has prompted possible restrictions.
Credit canopic / Flickr

  Right now it’s not illegal to harvest an octopus in Puget Sound – unless you’re in a marine preserve or conservation area. In fact, if you have a state fishing license you could kill one every day.

Hundreds of scuba divers and members of the public have submitted petitions to the Department of Fish and Wildlife asking for better protection for the giant Pacific octopus.

The WDFW has approved four possible management plans for consideration.

One would involve maintaining the status quo, one would involve banning all harvest of octopuses in Puget Sound and the other two would limit octopus harvest in certain protected areas of Puget Sound.

Craig Bartlett is a spokesman for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He says the giant Pacific octopus population in Puget Sound is healthy and actually doesn’t need protection from a biological standpoint.

Bartlett: “This is really a social value that the commission is planning to make. What’s the best use of this resource?”

Public workshops about the proposed plans will be held in Port Townsend and Seattle next week and the public has until May 31st to comment on the plans.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio