Did you know that the world’s largest octopus species, the giant Pacific octopus (GPO), hails from practically our own backyard? This majestic creature calls the Pacific Northwest waters its home, and the species could face a serious threat if the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) doesn’t rule in their favor and offer them full legal protection.
Divers travel from all around the world to the waters of Puget Sound to marvel at the octopus, which generates the state an estimated $500,000 in annual ecotourism profits. But just this past fall, the existing rules on harvesting these cephalopods sparked a heated debate which could affect the survival of the species. A ruling will be made by the WDFW at a critical meeting this Friday, August 2 in Olympia, Washington to determine their fate.
Sea Shepherd urges those concerned about this issue, especially residents of the Pacific Northwest, to contact the WDFW today and tell them this issue is not only relevant but important. If we act as a community, we can protect this highly intelligent and graceful creature. If the harvest is permitted, the potential affect on the population could be huge, as females deposit their eggs in dens and protect them for a six-month gestation period. If a mother is captured during this period, the eggs will not survive to hatch and an entire potential generation of future octopus will be lost.
It is time to close Puget Sound to harvesting the giant Pacific octopus once and for all!
Please contact the WDFW today advocating for the protection of the giant Pacific octopus in Puget Sound:
- Visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/contact.html and fill in the required fields.
- Select “Giant Pacific Octopus Rulemaking” under “your message to the Commission”
- Enter a message. A sample message could be as simple as, “Giant Pacific Octopus are an iconic species in the Pacific Northwest, and they deserve our protection. I support a Puget Sound-wide closure of recreational harvest of GPOs.
- Spread the word, encourage your friends and family to do the same.