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Washington panel restricts octopus hunting

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:28 a.m. HST, Aug 03, 2013



OLYMPIA, Wash. » A Washington state panel on Friday prohibited the recreational hunting of giant Pacific octopuses at seven popular scuba diving sites in the Puget Sound region, following an outcry when a man was spotted killing one of the elusive creatures.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission called for a review of the rules after a diver killed an octopus in October near Alki Point in Seattle. A diving instructor who arrived on the beach saw him beating the octopus to death.

Photos of the event outraged other divers who are familiar with octopus lairs and watch for the creatures. Divers petitioned the panel to outlaw octopus hunting or to create marine preserves where they'll be safe.

The commission's unanimous vote came Friday, after the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, working with a citizen advisory committee that included sport fishermen and recreational divers, developed options ranging from no rule changes to banning the recreational hunt throughout Puget Sound.

Current rules allow a person with a valid state fishing license to harvest one giant Pacific octopus per day in most areas of Puget Sound.

One of the sites where hunting will be prohibited is the spot where the octopus was killed last fall.

Fish and Wildlife received hundreds of comments on the options, the commission said in a statement. The commission sets policy for the Fish and Wildlife Department.

Many sport fishermen wanted to keep current rules while many divers favored a Puget Sound-wide ban, said Craig Burley in Fish and Wildlife's fish management program.

The Puget Sound octopus population appears healthy and the current recreational harvest is very small, Burley said.

The Seattle Aquarium says giant Pacific octopuses average 90 pounds and their arms can span 20 feet across, but a fully grown octopus can fit through a hole the size of a lemon.

The octopuses live in rocky dens, recognized by the discarded shells of crabs and clams they eat. They hunt at night and also eat fish and other species of octopus. Their suckers hold prey, which the octopus tears apart with a parrot-like beak.

Giant Pacific octopuses can change color at will depending on their surroundings and mood.

Several commission members mentioned the creatures' broad appeal to recreational divers around the world.

"Washington is an important dive location, and protection of the octopus is important both to the dive community and to the economy of the state," said Commissioner Conrad Mahnken of Bainbridge Island, located west of Seattle across the sound.






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niimi wrote:
Tako poke!
on August 3,2013 | 10:31AM
1local wrote:
animals are food - stop killing vegetables...
on August 3,2013 | 11:18AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Poke he'e .....this is Hawai'i.
on August 3,2013 | 11:49AM
AmbienDaze wrote:
you go foodland or tamashiro market, it's tako poke.
on August 4,2013 | 08:33AM
hanalei395 wrote:
You go Japan, it's tako.
on August 4,2013 | 09:22AM
808ikea wrote:
Average 90 Ibs? That is huge. I also wonder how they taste.
on August 3,2013 | 11:16AM
buttery wrote:
remember, it was the divers that petitioned the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to protect theses creatures or the least create a marine preserve for them. Kudos to all concern
on August 3,2013 | 01:34PM
LanaUlulani wrote:


In order words make INNOCENT people pay for what the ONE GUILTY man did. Hewa.


on August 3,2013 | 01:42PM
Fishermen wrote:
The conflict between those that eat things from the sea and those that want to look at things in the sea.
on August 3,2013 | 04:20PM
Kaluu wrote:
Bambye no can eat nahting. Going get kalo farm touring for tourists and against da law ovahheah fo make poi o chicken luau o hee luau o watevah cause da kalo one valuable economic resource fo da state.
on August 4,2013 | 06:31AM
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