Good news for scuba divers as Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has put in place new rules on Giant Pacific Octopus harvesting in Puget Sound and Hood Canal. The new rules set aside seven sites where harvesting is now prohibited:
- Redondo Beach
- Three Tree Point North
- Seacrest Park Coves 1, 2 and 3 (excluding the fishing pier)
- Les Davis Marine Park
- Alki Beach Junk Yard
- Day Island Wall
- Deception Pass
The back story on all this started last year when a local diver legally harvested a Giant Pacific Octopus at Seacrest Park in West Seattle. There are traditionally strong social norms within the Northwest diving community regarding not taking wildlife from popular dive sites, and the initial pictures of the diver holding a dead octopus on the beach at Cove 2 were pretty shocking to most in the dive community. While the diver technically did nothing wrong, and he has since apologized for his actions, the resulting public outcry led the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to call for a review of Giant Pacific Octopus rules. Check out this article in the Sunday New York Times magazine on the incident.
The Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest octopus species and can be found at recreational diving depths, while weighing up to 33 pounds with an arm span of up to 30 feet. They usually eat invertebrates such as crabs or clams, or even fish or occasionally birds, as this news report shows. Giant Pacific Octopus can live up to 5 years in the wild and are considered to be extremely intelligent.
With new protections in place as of October 6th, the chances of seeing a Giant Pacific Octopus are better than ever. To start your adventure, just book one of our daily day or night dive tours, or e-mail us and jump into our monthly PADI Advanced Open Water class.