WDFW Commission approves hunting rules, defines options for octopus protection

In other business, the commission approved a list of four options for managing Puget Sound’s giant Pacific octopus population that will be submitted for public comment this month. Those options, developed by WDFW in consultation with a 12-member citizen advisory group, range from one that would make no change in current rules to a ban on harvesting octopuses anywhere in Puget Sound.

Under current rules, a person with a valid state fishing license can harvest one giant Pacific octopus per day in most areas of Puget Sound.

The commission called for a review of those rules after the legal harvest of a giant Pacific octopus near Alki Point in Seattle sparked a public outcry last October. The commission received three petitions signed by hundreds of scuba divers and other members of the public seeking protection for octopuses from recreational harvest.

WDFW has scheduled two workshops to solicit public input on the issue at the following locations and times:

  • Port Townsend, April 23 – 6 to 8 p.m., Cotton Building, 407 Water Street

  • Seattle Aquarium, April 24 – 6 to 8 p.m., 1483 Alaska Way, Pier 59

The public can find more information about the four options now under consideration and post comments online athttp://www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/octopus/ through May 31.

The commission will consider taking action on new regulations governing the harvest of octopuses in Puget Sound later this year.