Beloved but unprotected: Octopus ‘harvest’ at Seacrest brings calls for protection

November 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm | In Environment, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 103 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

They are mysterious, majestic – and largely unprotected. Now the status of the Giant Pacific Octopus has come to light – harsh light – because of an incident here in West Seattle, but it’s a light that might also lead the way to overdue protection.

WSB Forums members have been talking about it for a day, divers’ discussion boards have been spreading it like wildfire, and citywide media has picked it up too – an outrage-sparking saga from the popular diving area off Seacrest – known as Cove 2 – involving someone “harvesting” an octopus that was originally reported to be a female guarding eggs.

If you haven’t heard about this yet – here’s a basic version of the original report, on a personal website. The citywide media reports include one from our partners at The Seattle Times today, and a story by KING5.com last night.

While some of the discussion has centered on the alleged braggadocio of the diver who took the octopus – and someone claiming to be him has been posting in the WSB Forums thread, denying that it was a female – others have focused on this question: How can this be made illegal, so that it can’t happen – legally – again? That’s what we looked into

Right now, state Department of Fish and Wildlife rules say it’s legal to “harvest” an octopus (if licensed, and per a daily limit) just about anywhere – except for Marine Protected Areas (here’s a map). As the map shows, there are some in West Seattle – Schmitz and Richey Viewpoints off Beach Drive. The state law regulating protected areas is here.

The first person from whom we heard about this, award-winning environmental advocate and diver Laura James, expected a petition drive to be started to designate the popular diving area off Seacrest as a protected area.

And that’s one way to make it happen, we found out when we called WDFW to ask what is required to get an area designated as a protected area. Spokesperson Craig Bartlett provided a raft of information – and told us that the department is also looking into the issue. Bartlett noted that in his 13 years with the department, he didn’t realize till this came up that the octopus is unprotected.

According to Bartlett, “There are two ways citizens can petition the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for a change in fishing rules: 1) fill out a petition form at http://www.ofm.wa.gov/reports/petition.pdf and send it to the commission or 2) attend a commission meeting and testify during a public comment period.” There’s a meeting coming up next Thursday and Friday, he notes – the calendar is here, and the agendas for both mornings show public-input periods. (You would have to go to Olympia, however.)

We also have asked Seattle Parks for comment on the possibility of protecting the waters at Seacrest; since it’s a city park, it seems as if they might have some jurisdiction. We’ll add that reply when we get it.

4:50 PM P.S. On the Northwest Dive Club discussion boards, where this first came to light, there is now a separate discussion about pursuing protection – see it here.

10:07 PM UPDATE: As Diver Laura (James) has pointed out in comments, a petition is now up and running online – find it here.

103 Comments

  1. It is quite sad that someone would do this and then rub salt in the wounds. It is like the Chinese skinning a fox alive for its fur. Taking the octopus from the Sound should not be allowed, anywhere, for any reason. Imagine how sad the octopus felt once it was out of the water, it must have felt sad knowing its eggs were without her protection and also the pain from getting hit. Tragic.

    Comment by Cosmo — 4:29 pm November 2, 2012 #

  2. Thanks, Tracy for being on top of this. I didn’t know about it until I saw the article in the Seattle Times today. Then I went looking in WSB for more information and found the second thread in the Forum. All that research and asking about preservation options is most appreciated. ~z

    Comment by zephyr — 4:37 pm November 2, 2012 #

  3. Thanks Tracy for the story. My sister is a diver and upset about this. It is very bad form indeed. I will advocate for the protection – like the online quote “just cause it can be done does not mean it should”.

    Comment by WSMama3 — 4:51 pm November 2, 2012 #

  4. Excellent reporting detail as always Tracy, thank you!

    Comment by Clay Swidler — 5:17 pm November 2, 2012 #

  5. The Giant Pacific Octopus is not an endangered species. I understand there is an emotional response to catching (harvesting) any creature that is protecting eggs or its young. But, since this is not an endangered species, how is this any different from harvesting a crab, squid, shrimp, sea cucumber, or any other female marine critter that has eggs (or young)? Just asking…

    Comment by Just asking — 5:28 pm November 2, 2012 #

  6. Great reporting
    and equally great perspective
    “how do we make something positive out of this?” is a great response to what most see as outragious behavior

    Comment by JoB — 5:37 pm November 2, 2012 #

  7. I think it is important to point out that current discussions are to make Cove 2 a “Underwater No Take Zone” versus a Protected Area or Marine Sanctuary. There is a huge difference.

    Comment by me — 5:38 pm November 2, 2012 #

  8. Very sad story . Even worse is how there mommys are sticking up for them.

    Comment by wetone — 5:40 pm November 2, 2012 #

  9. I’ve looked at the petition link and I’d like to fill it out. However, the form asks for specific information regarding “rules” and WACs

    I’m not trying to get around my responsibility in learning the issues — but short of doing extensive research on the current rules and laws, I do not feel knowledgeable enough to fill out the petition so that it will actually have the intended impact.

    Is there an expert out there who is willing to provide the appropriate and specific wording for the petition, regarding rules/laws, so that the average joe citizen can submit the petition in good order?

    Comment by elaine — 5:42 pm November 2, 2012 #

  10. Saw this on King 5 news the other night and it is sad! I wonder if he is working for a local resturant, as they will strip a beach at low tide and most own resturants in the International district!

    Comment by Silly Goose — 5:44 pm November 2, 2012 #

  11. Why is everyone so whiney Its just an octopus! 10 years from now you will be crying about people catching fish with fishing rods.

    Comment by chad richardson — 6:02 pm November 2, 2012 #

  12. Adding a comment so I will be notified when others leave notes. I’m with Elaine – wanted to fill out the petition but don’t have enough knowledge of existing marine laws to do so. I’d be happy to register my concern by sending the petition if someone more knowledgeable could shed some light.

    Comment by JoanE — 6:05 pm November 2, 2012 #

  13. Unbelievable. One more example of a human being with incredibly poor judgment. Very sad.

    Comment by Aaarrrgggh! — 6:06 pm November 2, 2012 #

  14. Octopus is commonly used as bait for Halibut. Just saying.

    Comment by WSTroll — 6:18 pm November 2, 2012 #

  15. We ate some fried recently in Mexico was absolutely delicious. Want to help these creatures in our waters here go clean a storm drain or don’t throw that cigaret in the gutter when you go out for a smoke tonight while out in the junction. Simple things like that make a difference think about it.

    Comment by DF — 6:31 pm November 2, 2012 #

  16. Harvesting octipui as a “food fish” is widely accepted throughout the world. Much like we harvest “cute” cattle, “cute” hogs, “cute” birds, and so on…

    Comment by Twobottles — 6:59 pm November 2, 2012 #

  17. Unlike other seafood, octopi in aquariums have proven very intelligent. Before we go looking for intelligent life “out there,” we need to learn to recognize and respect it here, even if it does look different from us.

    Comment by KatherineL — 7:26 pm November 2, 2012 #

  18. Okay, so let me ask you this…just because other people on this planet do something, does that make it right? I don’t care what might be accepted anywhere else. Wake up people and have some fortitude. We need to set the example, not follow others. That is called LEADERSHIP.

    Comment by Areyoukiddingme? — 7:31 pm November 2, 2012 #

  19. Sounds kind of like skinning a deer just barely off the right of way of I90. Technically legal, but not hard to see why it would upset people. It sounds like this park should maybe be a protected area, like I understand other dive parks nearby are.

    Comment by Jeff — 8:03 pm November 2, 2012 #

  20. I am an animal lover & could never imagine fishing for octopus, however, I think people need to stop attacking these guys for a moment & get the facts. Not everyone loves animals for their beauty (as much as that upsets some… It’s just a fact)… These guys consumed the octopus at a party after they caught it (which is why they hunted it in the first place).
    As much as people hate it, what they did was legal & they also apparently did it per the guidelines by Fish & Game (catch it with your hands & bring it to shore alive- working on confirming this now but heard it on 97.3 radio station on the way home tonight). They shouldn’t have punched it but I’m trying to stick to the bigger picture here…
    These are two young, inexperienced & naive 19 year old guys who didn’t realize the extent to which this would upset people since they see the octopus as food… 19 year old boys don’t think about that kind of stuff!!
    Banning these guys from dive shops & threatening their families & lives is far beyond what public reaction should be.
    And to address the disgust at the moms for defending their boys- if someone attacked your kid physically or otherwise, you would fight to the death! There have been threats to their lives! These moms have every right to stand up & say enough is enough. Those are their baby boys no mater how old they actually are.
    I completely support the community taking steps to protect these beautiful animals now that this event shed a light on the issue but the bullying that these guys are experiencing now is unacceptable.
    Let’s use this event to make a change & help these guys learn from their mistake. Let’s teach these guys that communities will stand up for what they believe in but that they also forgive…
    Sorry for the rant but I just feel that this degree of negative reaction will not benefit anyone… No one wins. Communities get bitter & families feel shunned… That’s not what West Seattle is about so let’s make a change & move on!!

    Comment by EJ — 8:05 pm November 2, 2012 #

  21. My first reaction is to scream LEAVE OUR BAY ALONE!! If you must “harvest” do it away from our city waters. But I don’t know what that actually means.

    Fortunately, Tracy and the WSB are here to give us some perspective and a forum to voice opinions.

    Comment by shed22 — 8:05 pm November 2, 2012 #

  22. I just feel fortunate to have lived on earth when there were still whales in the oceans, tigers in the wild, and grizzlies in Montana. Just to name a few of the sights that will be lost forever in the not-too-distant future.

    Compare two hundred years ago, to what one would expect to see two hundred years in the future. I am glad I won’t be around. Birth control? That is a sin. LOL.

    Comment by West Seattleite — 8:51 pm November 2, 2012 #

  23. I’ve enjoyed octopus in many Italian restaurants from the riviera to Positano. Fantastic sea harvest but if they are protected here then I understand the outrage. I assume they are not because they can be found on any west seattle sushi restaurant’s menu.

    Comment by Gawdger — 9:13 pm November 2, 2012 #

  24. Elaine and JoanB,
    Maybe follow ongoing strategy conversation on divers’ forum. Also you could create a thread on WSB’s forum to discuss as well and hopefully folks could share info there re: law as it is learned and how to fill out form. Comments often aren’t read.

    Comment by westseattledood — 9:28 pm November 2, 2012 #

  25. Story comments are actually, by the numbers, read more than the forum (whether people choose to respond is a separate matter, and that goes for the forum as well). I will look up the information requested when I get time later, if nobody gets to it first. But if you don’t read the forum, there is an ongoing thread, as linked in this story, and you can get there by following the link toward the start of this – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:36 pm November 2, 2012 #

  26. Bio-accumulation of heavy metals and PCB’s = who ever harvested the Octopus might not have all cylinders going in the first place.

    Comment by Mike — 9:55 pm November 2, 2012 #

  27. As a hunter, I have no objection to the taking of legal food/game species in season. However, if it’s true it was a female on the nest, that’s very short-sighted and not in keeping with strong conservation values and practices.

    Comment by Chuck & Sally's Van Man — 9:56 pm November 2, 2012 #

  28. If anything, as has been mentioned in the storm on the forums but possibly lost in the fray is that perhaps this kid needs a mentor in the diving community that will help him understand more clearly the areas that hunting and collecting is more appropriate.

    I have seen other folks out at “Cove 2″ over the past decade with spear guns, taking ling cod and other not so edible fish.

    I have helped remove a hook and bobber from a large octopus that almost gave a fisherman a bit of a surprise but was likely larger than 70lbs so broke the line.

    If this kid looked at the history books of the puget sound region, octopus wrestling, spear fishing contests, etc… were prevalent. What he did wasn’t correct by the community standards, but it was within his rights.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2011277023_octowrestling07m.html

    There is now a petition available:

    http://www.divenewsnetwork.com/index.php/newsevents/divingnews/dnnonlineexclusive/167-nwonlineexclusive/1184-save-the-gpo

    Comment by DiverLaura — 10:04 pm November 2, 2012 #

  29. @EJ – Nineteen years old is certainly old enough to know that although something is “legal”, that does not make doing it morally or ethically correct. Punching, then killing the giant octopus was a bad thing. It’s called cruelty to animals. This particular octopus was well known; a living treasure. Certainly these 19 year olds were aware of this so they hunted it down. You’ve got to be kidding they consumed this huge octopus at a party that evening? Doing something like this has consequences, like being banned from dive shops. It’s a thing called Karma. Death threats are not acceptable, but I have no sympathy for them (or their mommies).

    Comment by wswildlife — 10:40 pm November 2, 2012 #

  30. Just a note that yes, octopuses are harvested elsewhere and eaten, but this particular spot is a local favorite where new divers in training might get to see the first Giant Pacific Octopus they’ve ever met(I saw my first at Alki, and it was incredible!). It’s an issue of knowing how the area is currently being used and being respectful of that.

    The petition is a great idea – note that it is specific about location (Alki Seacrest Park), so it’s NOT trying to ban octopus harvesting everywhere.

    Comment by Anon — 10:48 pm November 2, 2012 #

  31. So the mothers are trying to protect their young? Sounds like they creature they killed.

    Comment by Tikkitavi — 10:56 pm November 2, 2012 #

  32. TR, I intended to say on Friday nights but hit send by accident.
    Anyway…
    Yeah, Laura, this young man needs mentoring. I hope he and his friend find that.

    Comment by westseattledood — 11:27 pm November 2, 2012 #

  33. Reasons to Protect the GPO

    There have been several references to the fact that this species of octopus (Giant Pacific or GPO) is not protected, not endangered and therefore should be fair game for harvesting like salmon, or sea cucumbers.

    If you can agree that harvesting a dolphin brings morality into question regardless of endangered classification, you might do well to give a very short read to the established intelligence of this particular type of octopus.

    They can learn, use tools, have unique personalities and have solved problems and mazes while under observation and are already protected in the UK. In fact, several countries won’t even allow surgery to be performed on them without anesthesia.

    Here’s a start:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octopus#Intelligence

    http://www.wildpnw.com/2011/01/10/giant-pacific-octopus/#.UJS2SYbs8eM

    A GPO will likely not be landing on Mars but we do need to protect this level of intelligence below water just as we already do above.

    If people know them like a squid, they’ll hunt them like a squid. If they know they’re smarter than their pet dogs, they might look elsewhere for food. There are countries that still eat primates, but I’m reasonably sure that ours isn’t one of them.

    EDIT: and BTW, if this was a female GPO guarding her eggs, she was already wasting and was truly not good sport.

    If not guarding eggs, a male or female GPO at Cove 2 would probably think the early stages of capture was some form of play and thus also not good sport. They see harmless divers down there daily and are as curious about us as we are them.

    This would be the same for Wolf Eels which are often playful to us divers . . . until given a reason to fear us.

    Comment by MotorbikeMike — 11:45 pm November 2, 2012 #

  34. I can’t help but chuckle when middle-aged folks attack young adults about maturity.

    Especially when they admit that they upped their emotion based on the situation in reaction.

    This was/is a fantastic example for a mentoring experience, as diverlaura said. Be the “elder” that you are supposed to be and teach the way of the diving as you would like it to see in future generations.

    He did not break any written law, just an unwritten code of conduct….. He did not track down accusers personal information and publicize it, although he probably could have based on the childish blog rants….. He simply rubbed many folks the wrong way. (I know that emotion attached to ones greatest passion can be strong, and this very well may have brought divers to tears, but again he did nothing wrong except offend a community)

    Do not misinterpret my post, I am not a young adult, know any parties involved, or dive. I am a nature enthusiast/reader who has seen poor actions taken by both sides, but in my world the “adults” are supposed to lead by example, which is far from what took place.

    Maybe all he needs is a diver to take him under his wing and witness an octopi hatch. Maybe he needs to see an octopus on the hunt. Maybe he needs to dive with said mentor and a jar and watch the amazing creatures solve the puzzle. Knowledge always trumps aggression and this seems like a missed opportunity.

    Comment by ComeOn — 1:00 am November 3, 2012 #

  35. Please note that I only meant to correlate diverlaura to the FIRST sentense of the second paragraph, nothing more.

    Comment by ComeOn — 1:01 am November 3, 2012 #

  36. @wswildlife- I appreciate your point of view but, morally & ethically correct? That is your opinion. Being 19 has nothing to do with the morality or ethical nature of octopus hunting. Tons of people hunt & eat octopus. These guys followed the law in what they killed (a male octopus) & how they harvested it. I don’t eat octopus & I would personally not ever kill one but, as I said, I agree with the petition. I just have compassion for a couple of young guys who made a mistake in choosing a hunting location that people care so deeply about… Your comment that they killed the octopus because they knew it was a treasured & well known one is just plain wrong based on the information I have heard & read (all sides of the story are important to gather!). They wanted to cook one at a party so they hunted one. End of story. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong… Just that it’s what happened.

    I am big on seeing both sides of the issue & appreciating all points of view. I’m a special education teacher and spend a lot of time teaching kids social skills & how to problem solve. I just believe that people are handling this situation poorly… The reactions that are happening right now are emotional and angry. These reactions dont help the situation. The question I offer to my students is always, “does your reaction lead to solving the problem?” The anger that is leading to a petition is great! The anger that has lead to death threats & harassing these two families is beyond inappropriate. That is all :-)

    Comment by EJ — 1:02 am November 3, 2012 #

  37. That young man took advantage of the creature in a vulnerable situation knowingly and likely for profit. What a smarmy excuse for a human being. In the past I have seen people harvest ducklings from public parks with similar cold blooded mentality, just because the authorities are too busy to work out a restriction does not make it ok.

    Comment by cj — 1:43 am November 3, 2012 #

  38. Please, diver Laura James, can you create a user-friendly petition we can sign? The official one provided is all bound up in legalese; even a smart animal like an octopus would have trouble understanding it. Thank you.

    Comment by Somona — 2:43 am November 3, 2012 #

  39. I’d prefer it be illegal to take any octopus, but it should at the very least, be legal to only harvest males. A brooding female needs to protect and care for her eggs until they hatch, otherwise they will not survive it they’re not continually aerated by the mother. It’s easy to identify an octopus’ sex (you check the third right arm). If it’s female, leave it. It’s the same rule for crabs, only males are legal to take.

    Comment by Ray West — 4:31 am November 3, 2012 #

  40. “It is like the Chinese skinning a fox alive for its fur”

    Racist much? I love eating octopus. Have a problem with that?

    Comment by West Seattle — 7:10 am November 3, 2012 #

  41. As a vegetarian I don’t eat sentient beings, period. But even in my meat-eating days, I would not eat octopus. Try reading about how incredibly smart these creatures are. Smarter than the 19-year-old budding sociopaths who killed it for sure.
    .
    Parents, please teach your children empathy and respect for the natural world. And the rest of you apologists: stop defending the stupid and bad people of the world and stand up for the powerless instead.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 7:45 am November 3, 2012 #

  42. Kayleigh, most of the planet doesn’t subscribe to your religion. Please go proselytize elsewhere.
    .
    Humans are omnivores. We evolved this way. That’s called science. Besides, octopus is delicious, nutritious, legal and bountiful.

    Comment by West Seattle — 8:09 am November 3, 2012 #

  43. I completely agree with Kayleigh. The octopus that was killed was not only more intelligent than it’s killer, but of more value to the ecosystem. The killer’s own pronouncements suggest a narcissistic/sociopathic personality.

    Comment by anonyme — 8:22 am November 3, 2012 #

  44. EJ: Thanks for bringing some logic and common sense to this discussion. I agree with you 100%.

    Comment by marty — 8:34 am November 3, 2012 #

  45. The personal attacks that people are now trying to leave in this thread, against other commenters, are against our rules and will not be approved for publication. We have very deliberately kept this story out of the gutter it’s fallen into elsewhere, with public shaming, threats, etc. (and anything along those lines won’t go through either) – and are focusing on what can be done in the future, for those who are interested. If you want to discuss that, great. If you don’t, you are welcome to check out threads in the WSB Forum, or beyond that, the far-too-many other websites where there are no rules (or rules aren’t enforced). Thanks. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:58 am November 3, 2012 #

  46. The comments about hunting and eating meat are beside the point because this is a case of animal cruelty. Hunters make efforts to minimize their quarry’s suffering. Dylan dragged an animal that many people know and love out of its home and repeatedly punched it in a place where people could see him punch it, in a place where the animal could not breathe, in a place where the creature had difficulty even lifting its own arms.
    Hunters don’t punch animals in parking lots, and they don’t load slowly suffocating animals into the back of their trucks.
    People don’t punch things to get food. People punch things to cause suffering.
    I care about the fact that a person who committed animal cruelty in my neighborhood, someone who has bragged about other acts of animal cruelty, has said that he will be back to do it again.

    Comment by sunset — 9:07 am November 3, 2012 #

  47. I love WSB’s standards and am grateful for the outstanding reporting on this sensitive issue. I signed the petition!

    Comment by CEA — 9:17 am November 3, 2012 #

  48. Sunset, that line of discussion – with participation by someone who on cross-reference does indeed seem to be the actual guy who started all this (heaven only knows why he is choosing to “speak” here, given that by most accounts, he lives relatively far away) – is ongoing in this WSB Forums thread:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/forum/topic/rant-octo-hunting-in-cove-2
    .

    Comment by WSB — 9:19 am November 3, 2012 #

  49. this story made me very sad

    punching it to kill it—truly is that not animal cruelty?

    Comment by karen — 9:44 am November 3, 2012 #

  50. “punching it to kill it—truly is that not animal cruelty?”

    .

    Nope, not when you’re fishing. Sometimes you club them.

    .

    Octopus is wonderful grilled or served up in traditional takoyaki balls like my grandmother used to make. Mind you, you’d all probably think she was cruel and sadistic because she used to catch her best seafood herself and refused to buy anything already dead from a store. Insisted it was fresher when she would bring it back to her house alive, club it in her kitchen and cook it fresh for us.

    .

    What a sad, cruel grandmother I had. I had no idea until I moved to Seattle.

    Comment by West Seattle — 9:58 am November 3, 2012 #

  51. If Marination had grilled Octo Sliders or Octo Tacos on the menu, you would all be lining up raving how great their menu was. Kind of hypocritical don’t you think?

    Comment by me — 10:23 am November 3, 2012 #

  52. While I get their mommies defending them, maybe those mommies should have taught them to be a little more respectful of the other creatures that we live with in this world and they wouldn’t be in this position. I bet they wish they never did what they did after all this backlash. It’s not worth it.

    Comment by Hbe — 10:24 am November 3, 2012 #

  53. And I wouldn’t call them divers. They may have been “diving” at the time this happened, but if people are going to use it for purposes like this and not even in a humane way they shouldn’t be grouped in with the rest and actually given the label “divers”

    Comment by Hbe — 10:30 am November 3, 2012 #

  54. I’d like to see people stop attacking the hunter. He has publicly apologized and acknowledged his shortsightedness. It’s a pretty brave thing to publicly accept responsibility and to try to make amends, especially when what you’ve done isn’t illegal and in the face of what seems like incensed mob reaction. What he did was legal–what we can do to move forward is change the legality. Alienating people is a poor approach to fixing problems. Please drop the vitriol.

    Comment by Sara — 11:33 am November 3, 2012 #

  55. West Seattle, punching much less effective than clubbing. Fishermen don’t punch their catches.
    I think that meat that comes from hunting results in less animal suffering than meat from industrial sources. I don’t have a problem with hunters or meat eaters.
    Dylan has bragged about being involved in Future Farmers of America, about being consulted by schools about preparing animals as food, and about having gone to school for this. Don’t you think that he should have known what to do with his catch and have had the proper equipment on hand with which to do it? Instead he repeatedly punched it.
    I’d like to know what I can do about someone who was cruel to an animal and who says that he will do it again. I wish that I had been there to take video and call the police to report animal cruelty, the same thing I would do if I saw someone abusing any other animal.

    Comment by sunset — 11:37 am November 3, 2012 #

  56. Of those of you decrying the killing and eating of a relatively cute and intelligent animal – how many eat pork?

    Comment by Twobottles — 11:57 am November 3, 2012 #

  57. There is absolutely no reason on earth to hunt
    otopus, none, nada. These kids being kids, but
    are totally misguided. sort of like shooting an
    elephant, just walk up and put your rifle at his
    head. Big big challenge. What is wrong with
    people that do this is the problem, they are misguided and selfish. Will the parents defend them , sure they will or they wouln’t hve hunted
    in the first place. So we not only kill one, but a female guiding its eggs. Smart, how stupid.

    Comment by art — 12:54 pm November 3, 2012 #

  58. Thanks to the dive instructor and others who spoke up and brought this issue to the public’s attention. It’s easy to look the other way, but I’m glad you got involved.

    Comment by Karin Edenholm — 1:14 pm November 3, 2012 #

  59. “There is absolutely no reason on earth to hunt octopus”
    .
    Tell my grandmother that. She hunted and killed octopus near her house on the Seto Sea in Japan until she was 70. She’d laugh in your face and then slice up some fresh octopus and lay it out for you in a feast fit for a king.

    .

    Try not to assume your cultural values are superior. That’s not something I thought tolerant Seattleites believed in.

    Comment by West Seattle — 1:24 pm November 3, 2012 #

  60. Sara is 100% correct here.

    Please stop attacking. The vitriol and anger albeit theoretically justifiable by the community standards is actually making us on a whole (not just the divers who were verbose on the threads) look as bad if not worse than the kid. I feel badly for everyone involved.

    There is something else to take home from all this, why does something ‘atrocious’ have to happen for people to take notice. The kid was probably telling the truth when he said that none of the dive shops he went to said ‘don’t hunt there’.

    A few individuals have put a lot of effort into making “cove 2″ as good a dive site as it can be, fought for it when the passenger ferry went in, put in navigational lines, done cleanups, etc.. As good as it can be all things considered (taking into account urban pollution, contaminated sediment, garbage from 80 – 100 years of industry and boating on the bottom), but almost all these same divers decrying the hunter, have referred to this site as a stinky mud-hole, cove poo, etc…

    Why, if we find it so precious was it NOT a reserve already? Because despite its close proximity to Seattle, its marine life, its lack of currents (so you can dive any time day or night) it has been the red-headed step-child of the northwest diving world.

    It is fantastic that people have decided that the Octopus in the Cove are worth protecting, but please take a close look in the mirror before slamming people and saying very hurtful and potentially damaging things on the forums and groups. Did you ‘care’ before all this happened? Will you still care in a week? Month? Year? This campaign will take time and will need YOUR support over the next year, there are so many people outraged, why don’t we look at going all the way and not only making it a marine reserve, but connecting the marine reserves that are already in place in west seattle?

    Everyone posting should be picking their conservation group of choice and signing up for a clean up, watershed restoration or shoreline patrol. DO more than just sign a petition or post in some comments… DO SOMETHING GOOD for west seattle or your neighborhood. Focus this energy on the positive impact we can all have. the 15 min or more you took composing an eloquent response could have been even better spent getting out to the street or beach and picking up bottle caps and cigarette butts. (which is where my dive buddies and i are headed now, so enough typing, its time to go load the car)

    Comment by DiverLaura — 2:03 pm November 3, 2012 #

  61. “theoretically justifiable by the community standards”

    .

    Whose community standards? Yours? You sound awfully intolerant for something that was, by all our ‘community standards’, totally legal and by some community standards, quite tasty.

    .

    By the way, why shouldn’t native fishermen be allowed to harvest octopus from these waters, as they have for generations before you all came along with your new ‘community standards’?

    Comment by West Seattle — 2:26 pm November 3, 2012 #

  62. Our family catches crab during the season. Some days we catch our limit and some days we don’t. We don’t come close to catching as much as we legally can because we don’t fish every day, but on the days that we fish we do well.

    Occasionally we are approached by someone that just doesn’t like what we’re doing or thinks we have ‘too much’ in their opinion. We always explain that we’re (well) within the law. But honestly, it’s hard to keep your cool when you know what you’re doing is legal and someone approaches you with an emotional reaction and (almost always) ignorance of the law. Especially if the they are angry or yelling.

    I’m sure it was hard to see this guy harvest an octopus if you’re not used to it or if you’ve decided to befriend the local wildlife, but the fact remains that this guy was legal in what he did and he was openly harassed for it. In fact, he continues to be harassed. Where would we be if it was always OK to harass someone doing something legal that we just don’t like?

    I also take offense to the people referring to it as ‘our’ cove or ‘our’ spot, and implying that he has no right to be there. It’s a public area, fair and square, and the octopus fisherman has just as much right to be there as you and me. People fish in my favorite spot all the time. I go there frequently, but I don’t own it.

    If you don’t like the law, then do your best to change it. But don’t harass the people that are following it.

    As for the manner of killing, unless you’re an all-out vegan you’ve most definitely eaten something that suffered at some point. Your yummy fish from those tacos was likeley clubbed, bled out, or simply crushed to death by its bretheren aboard a commercial fishing vessel before it landed in your soft tortilla. The difference is that you were not there to watch it.

    Comment by Betsy — 2:26 pm November 3, 2012 #

  63. Checklist Before Catching Dinner: In addition to looking around the general area : might there be a superfund site nearby? might there be a bunch of people who came to see/appreciate your potential “dinner” – ie is this akin to butchering a lamb at a petting zoo? Sure many people eat lamb but… think about the letters CSO – ie have you flushed a toilet recently? If so
    - you may want to check here: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wastewater/CSOstatus/Overview.aspx

    Comment by w — 2:55 pm November 3, 2012 #

  64. It’s not always about what’s legal. Sometimes it’s about what’s right. As an adult people should know what’s right and wrong, the law shouldn’t have to tell you. If you think people are up in arms about it because of legality then you missed the point entirely. However now because of things like this it may become more of a legal fight.

    Comment by jztl — 3:07 pm November 3, 2012 #

  65. Its a shame that folks don’t get nearly as worked up when a human being gets killed in West Seattle.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 3:37 pm November 3, 2012 #

  66. W- no, more like catching a fish at a fishing pier.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 3:38 pm November 3, 2012 #

  67. Where is all of the outrage at all of the helpless clams, oysters, geoducks etc. That this non-vegetarian octopus murdered through the years? Who speaks for THEM??? Save the shellfish! Eat an octopus!

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 3:40 pm November 3, 2012 #

  68. There is absolutely nothing wrong with what those guys did!! Seeing so many people so outraged really speaks to how hypersensitive people have become in this area! Its pathetic to say the least.

    Comment by chad richardson — 4:00 pm November 3, 2012 #

  69. I’ll speak my mind when I please, west seattle. I don’t care who else subscribes to my views. Try some empathy for animals on for size.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 4:26 pm November 3, 2012 #

  70. Well maybe that cove should be a Marine Protected Area — but not a fanatical ban on hunting Octopi. Despite the fact that this one might have been carrying eggs I am more disappointed that nobody is eating it. Now that is a total waste… the fact that the octopus was lying on the beach with sand and fists pounded into it does not ruin the meat. I believe the proper way to disengage an octopus is to flip its brains inside out with your bare hands but if its a GIANT PACIFIC OCTO then you might need an implement of some sort to disable your catch from wrapping around your face.

    Comment by deeper — 4:44 pm November 3, 2012 #

  71. We all eat. Humans eat. Octopi eat. Octopi eat seagulls:

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/03/b-c-woman-nets-fame-for-photos-of-octopus-eating-seagull/

    poor seagull.

    Comment by whatabouttheseagulls? — 4:57 pm November 3, 2012 #

  72. As a former diver, I logged many dives at this very spot looking for octopus. I also eat octopus and rather enjoy it. But this is not the point.

    This area is well known for octopus dens, and these are intelligent creatures. Divers often offer these octopus here crab, clams, etc. — anything we can find to lure them out a bit and see more of them. What these kids did is akin to killing a deer that comes into a park to grab snacks out of peoples hands during hunting season.

    This is simply not the place to harvest, even if legal. These are animals that are used to divers, used to us trying to photograph them, lure them out. This is probably what saddens the diving community the most. I took my cert dives here, as do countless other divers, and an octopus sighting is the crown jewel of puget sound diving.

    Maybe something good can come of this and we can create an underwater sanctuary similar to the Edmonds Underwater Park.

    Comment by Former Diver — 5:19 pm November 3, 2012 #

  73. Im with Jeff W. Sad that more people get worked up over a killing of an animal than a human. Where are all the rants over the drive by shooting that happened very close to a high school yesterday that put a young teen in the ICU at Harborview. Oh yea, it didn’t happen in West Seattle.

    Comment by dmtippy — 5:55 pm November 3, 2012 #

  74. That 19 year old kid did us all a favor by his reckless and inhumane treatment of that poor creature. You say it is legal? Not for long. This will certainly bring a huge push back and create a sealife sanctuary along this part of the coast line…thank you jerk…now you can return to “punching” what you usually punch on a regular basis.

    Comment by chris — 6:12 pm November 3, 2012 #

  75. Just wondering … what did he plan to do with it? Was it just the thrill of the catch? It’s too big and tough to eat!!

    Comment by rmp — 6:43 pm November 3, 2012 #

  76. Animals don’t know not to eat other animals. Humans have that capability to know and understand why we shouldn’t, and make alternatives for our consumption. I thought we were all more advanced than animals. But some obviously aren’t.

    Comment by jztl — 8:20 pm November 3, 2012 #

  77. I say that the is a all to kill and eat more octopus. No eggs were involved here – but so what if there were? More food for other sea life. I once unintentionally caught an octopus off of Does Moines pier. Took it home live in a bucket. Any idea how hard those things are to kill? This was before Google. A knife between the eyes finally did it, that sucker was delicious, raw, boiled and pickled. I say HARVEST MORE OCTOPUS. They’re damn good.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 1:08 am November 4, 2012 #

  78. For anyone who is harvesting from any of the sites along Alki, please please please take a look at the department of ecology’s data on sediment sampling and water quality for this area. The generations of native fishermen/women who came before did not have millions of peoples worth of pollution to contend with when deciding whether or not their dinner was actually safe to eat. If any of you reading this know folks who are harvesting these areas I highly encourage you to help them seek out information on this subject and make educated decisions.

    Comment by DiverLaura — 1:38 am November 4, 2012 #

  79. Really “animal cruelty”? Do you eat seafood? Know where it comes from? Do you know how your local deli meat was killed? Probably not. The divers were completely legal and “moral” in their right to hunt/fish. In fact I’m happy to read that the animal was consumed and not wasted. The only aspect I take objection to is the location, because cove 2 is frequented by so many divers others will not be able to see and enjoy that animal while diving. It should be made into a “no take area” so everyone can enjoy the wildlife. But don’t slam the divers that harvested the octopus, they broke no legal or moral code. The community is only outraged because our society is so detached from where meat comes from. I’m sure almost all of the people objecting have eaten octopus in a restaurant without asking how it was killed. Am I wrong?

    Comment by Katie — 2:30 am November 4, 2012 #

  80. “Try some empathy for animals on for size.”

    .
    Does it make them tastier?

    Comment by West Seattle — 9:01 am November 4, 2012 #

  81. “Humans have that capability to know and understand why we shouldn’t, and make alternatives for our consumption. I thought we were all more advanced than animals. But some obviously aren’t.”

    .

    Some? Actually the majority of humans eat animals. You see, it’s called science, we evolved as omnivores, not as cultists.

    Comment by West Seattle — 9:08 am November 4, 2012 #

  82. He killed it so he could draw it for an art project. Pathetic. How about take a pic underwater, draw from that. He also said how could he know it wasn’t morally acceptable? You need others to tell you that?

    Comment by J — 10:29 am November 4, 2012 #

  83. The treatment of 19 year old Dylan Mayer for legally taking an octopus is pure harassment in my eyes..Dylan if you read this, you should talk to a WA Fish & Game officer about the harrassing treatment you have received just because you followed the rules regarding harvesting of an octopus.
    Cove 2 is not a protected area,it has been used by divers for many, many years. I dove there myself with friends for many years..
    If it can be turned into a protected area through legal channels, then so be it. But you people that have made Dylan feel guilty regarding his legal harvest because it “should be” protected should be ashamed of yourselves…if you don’t like to see people hunt or fish legally than don’t look, but don’t harrass us,,your behavior could (should) be a crime.
    GOOD LUCK Dylan, harvest at will!!!

    Comment by Marty Aubol — 11:06 am November 4, 2012 #

  84. The are edible and healthy to eat. They are the same as eating a fish, wait, it is a fish. Keep the hunting, harvesting and eating of octopus LEGAL. Seattle has really become a town of PETA pansies. What a sorry state of affairs.

    Comment by Nick Petrish — 11:18 am November 4, 2012 #

  85. “The only good thing that could have happened was if this octopus strangled that guy when he was taking her from that cove. ”

    Comments like this make me embarrassed to live in West Seattle. Geese and Octopus get 70+ comments, while misfortune for humans often get none.That is what is truly pathetic.

    Comment by erico — 11:42 am November 4, 2012 #

  86. Animals know how to eat each other by the way…Animals know not how to eat other? what?

    Comment by Lido — 12:19 pm November 4, 2012 #

  87. Sorry, Erico, I missed that comment. Deleted.

    Comment by WSB — 12:47 pm November 4, 2012 #

  88. I don’t get this. It is not legal to hunt for octopus? If people have a problem with it, they should try to change the law instead of going after someone who is not doing something illegal. Those who care so much about killing animals should think twice when they take a bite on their next meal. I hope it does not contain any type of meat product. It is so hypocritical that some people feel that they are above the law and even think about taking it into his or her own hands. Just think, this time the community is going after Dylan Mayer, but next time the community may be going after you. Don’t judge becuase others may judge you as well. How sad this community is. On a grander scale isn’t it because of that mentality that US is fighting wars all over the world.

    Comment by Get Real — 12:59 pm November 4, 2012 #

  89. One day I saw 5 eagles working as a team to scare ducks out of a protective ditch, so that the other eagles could pluck them out of the sky and eat them. A well coordinated hunt, that must be outlawed. Damned eagles, who and what do they think they are? PETA where are you? You have to stop those eagles! fish and game department-you need to fine them for poaching!

    Comment by Nick Petrish — 1:03 pm November 4, 2012 #

  90. animals not know how to eat each other…lol

    Comment by Lido — 2:49 pm November 4, 2012 #

  91. I’m throwing on a little something on the barbie tonight in honor of the Sucker Puncher:

    http://pinoyfightscribe.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Grilled-Octopus1.jpeg

    Comment by West Seattle — 5:09 pm November 4, 2012 #

  92. Had some BABY OCTOPUS SALAD from Uajimaya today. YUM! About 8 baby octopi seasoned with nori, sesame oil and chili’s. Delish! SAVE A CLAM – EAT MORE WEST SEATTLE OCTOPUS!

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 5:53 pm November 4, 2012 #

  93. For my fellow Croatians here in the Puget Sound, if your grandparents forgot to teach you, this is how you eat Octopus: http://www.frendice.hr/hobotnica-ispod-peke

    Comment by Nick Petrish — 12:15 am November 5, 2012 #

  94. Nick, are you the same Nick Petrish who is running for Skagit County Commissioner? Or are you a different guy with the same name?

    Comment by sunset — 2:26 am November 5, 2012 #

  95. Yes!

    Comment by Nick Petrish — 8:42 am November 5, 2012 #

  96. If you watch how your bacon is killed, you’d be pretty upset about that too. People need to be more educated hwo food is killed first before it reaches your table. It will turn your stomach.

    Comment by Lido — 12:30 pm November 5, 2012 #

  97. @Lido I am a hunter, a fisherman (commercial and sport) and I know well how to hunt, fish, kill, clean, and GIVE THANKS FOR THE LIFE OF THE ANIMAL that I EAT.

    I have hunted deer, cleaned and butchered it. I have helped to butcher pig, make sausage and prsut (smoked ham). I believe that people who eat meat and fish need to experience that act of killing what they eat-inorder to get more of an appreciation for what is involved, and how precarious our lives would if we not had these skills.

    Yes, I agree with Lido, our industrial food model is horrid, and dangerous. Horrid for the animals and dangerous for us. If you want to change our cruel and greedy industrial fast food complex, then Buy local seafood (including LOCAL OCTOPUS), buy locally butchered and processed meats. And for you vegans and vegetarians, please by your products LOCAL.

    Please read “The Omnivores Dilemma”
    “In Defense of Food”
    And please watch “Food Inc”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqbOU07ZI2k

    Comment by Nick Petrish — 5:27 pm November 5, 2012 #

  98. By the way, my brother and I are teaching his son of 10 years old, how to hunt.
    I have taken many of my karate students and neighbors out hunting, and have brought to their home, the kill, to clean and eat it.

    Comment by Nick Petrish — 5:31 pm November 5, 2012 #

  99. The octopus was a legally caught game animal, fish, whatever. People need to get over it. If I was in the area I would be harvesting them also. If people don’t want it to happen use the rules to close the area. I hunt for food not sport. I don’t keep anything from the animal except the meat. There are plenty of hungry people around. if the octopus are so plentiful cull them down and improve the genetic pool by giving the harvested octopi to a food bank or shelter. The reality is legal game can be hunted. He had a right to hunt the octopus and harvest it just as you have the right not to. People putting him down are just as guilty of wrong doing as they think he is.

    Comment by Paul Tucker — 10:07 am November 6, 2012 #

  100. The rednecks have hit the shores and media outlets of West Seattle. Hopefully, the mega churches and Dollar General stores won’t follow.

    Comment by Ajax — 2:12 pm November 6, 2012 #

  101. This was no ordinary hunting-for-food incident. The boys who did this were cruel and malicious in what they did. Frightening an animal to leave its nest? Punching and dragging it to their pickup? Come on, now. Torturing animals is a predictor of mental illness and these boys need help.

    How can we confront them–as a community–so that they can drop their anger and defensiveness, admit their wrongdoing, and get on the road to becoming functional men?

    Comment by Kate Nelson — 3:44 pm November 7, 2012 #

  102. Ajax:

    go organic: HUNT! FISH! EAT ANIMALS! WEAR FUR!
    and GROW YOUR OWN.

    You’d surprised how your carbon foot print with be reduced. But, our carbon footprint would be reduced even more, if more people left Seattle, and started farming again. Unemployment would decrease, and even if the prices are bad you won’t go hungry.

    Comment by Nick Petrish — 3:51 pm November 8, 2012 #

  103. Protect these gracious creatures please…this was a maritime murder…these young men need to be educated….and protection needed to safeguard these gifts of the sea

    Comment by Sharon Akers — 12:36 am November 9, 2012 #

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