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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

November 5, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Speak your mind on octopus hunt, protection

The octopus hunt last week at Cove 2 in West Seattle has raised sharp controversy.

hunter.jpg

Dylan Mayer, 20, of Maple Valley with his catch from Cove 2 last Wednesday. He said in an interview Saturday with The Seattle Times that he didn’t realize people would be offended by what was a legal hunt in an unprotected area.

Debate on dive blogs and The Seattle Times comment sections on news stories about the hunt have raged about whether the giant Pacific octopus — the largest octopus species in the world — should be hunted. Others have said they don’t mind hunting, but that Cove 2, a popular dive spot in West Seattle where people come from all over to see octopus, should become a protected area, with fishing restricted.

Meanwhile, state fish and wildlife experts say they cannot tell from photos of the hunted animal whether it was a male or female. It is legal in Washington with a valid state shellfish license, to hunt any octopus without regard to gender, age, breeding condition, time of year, or other factors. The legal bag limit is one a day.

What do you think? The Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission makes the decision on changing fishing regulations, and establishing state marine protection and conservation areas.

The commission is meeting this Thursday and Friday in Olympia, with the open public comment period beginning at 8:45 a. m. Thursday, and again on Friday at 11:15 a.m.

Here are the details:

FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION MEETING

Natural Resources Building — 1111 Washington St SE Olympia WA 98501

First Floor, Room 172

There is public parking (for a fee) behind the building.

Or, contact the commission:

Mailing Address

600 Capitol Way N.

Olympia, WA 98501-1091

Phone: 360-902-2267

Fax: 360-902-2448

commission@dfw.wa.gov

Miranda Wecker, Chair

Gary Douvia, Vice Chair

A petition also is circulating online on the topic.

Read my stories in The Seattle Times about the hunt that started it all.

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