While eating octopus may be a delicacy to some, an incident in Seattle on October 31st has some local divers red with anger.
According to local divers Bob Bailey and Scott Lundy who witnessed the event, two divers diving at Cove Two near downtown Seattle pulled a large octopus out of the water around 4:30pm and wrestled it into the back of their pickup truck at the popular dive site. Still photos were taken of the octopus which have been featured on local television stations and have gone viral within the dive community.
While harvesting the octopus was legal under current Fish & Game regulations, divers interviewed at Cove Two said the area should be a protected sanctuary because of the number of divers who frequently visit known octopus sites in Elliott Bay. Additionally, local divers say that even if it’s technically legal, to harvest a large octopus from such a popular dive site was exercising very poor judgment. The divers who took the octopus insist they did so legally, were properly licensed, and used approved methods to capture it.
Since the incident took place, the two divers involved have been banned from several area dive shops. One said that his life-long dream of becoming a rescue diver is now in jeopardy as several diving schools have denied him admission.
During peak diving times, several hundred divers may dive Cove Two in a single weekend. According to state law, it is legal but there are guidelines, like you have to be licensed and you can only catch one octopus a day. A Fish and Wildlife Officer investigated and said it appeared the diver who caught the octopus followed the rules.
The Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is the largest octopus species, with a scientific record of a 156-lb individual weighed live. A typical adult weighs around 33 pounds and has an armspan of 14 feet. Specimens up to 600 lb in weight with a 30-ft arm span have been reported. Marine mammals, such as harbor seals, sea otters, and sperm whales, depend upon the giant Pacific octopus as a source of food. The giant Pacific octopus is considered to be short-lived for an animal of its size, with lifespans that average only 3-5 years in the wild.
Hear the other side of the story from the guy who took the octopus (radio interview):
Related story: http://www.nwdiveclub.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19454
Interview from the guy who caught the octo: http://tinyurl.com/cl684us