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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 31, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Giant Pacific octopus may be off the menu

Commission should ban octopus fishing in Puget Sound

Local dive instructor Bob Bailey, right, confronts a diver harvesting a giant Pacific octupus from a dive site in West Seattle. Although hunting is legal with a permit, the incident has prompted calls for a marine preserve. [Photo courtesy of Mark Saiget.]

Local dive instructor Bob Bailey, right, confronts a diver harvesting a giant Pacific octupus from a dive site in West Seattle. Although hunting is legal with a permit, the incident has prompted calls for a marine preserve. [Photo courtesy of Mark Saiget.]

This Friday, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission will be adopting rules regarding catching and killing of giant Pacific octopus here in the Puget Sound.

Giant Pacific octopuses are the largest in the world, and are some of the most intelligent sea creatures we know.

The current rule allows people with a fishing license to catch one octopus per day, year round.

If the commission (partnering with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) eliminates recreational fishing for giant Pacific octopus, it would not adversely affect anyone, because few people fish for them. It could generate thousands of dollars from out-of-state scuba divers coming to the Puget Sound to encounter one of these glamorous megafauna.

Some sportfishers object to closing the octopus season for philosophical reasons — they want no decrease in fishing opportunity. I hope the commission takes the larger view, and recognizes that designating Puget Sound as a giant Pacific octopus sanctuary is in the best interest of Washington’s economy.

David Jennings, Olympia

Comments | More in Economy, Environment, Seattle | Topics: diving, Fish and Wildlife Commission, fishing

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