Giant Pacific Octopus to be protected at Seacrest, Alki, elsewhere

August 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm | In West Seattle news, Wildlife | 28 Comments

(Whimsical 2011 look at a young GPO, by “Diver Laura” James)
What started with a startling incident last fall in West Seattle ended today with a vote in Olympia. As noted here earlier this week, today was the day the state Wildlife Commission planned to make a decision on whether to protect the Giant Pacific Octopus – and they decided to set aside seven areas for octopus protection. From the official news release:

The commission considered several options for managing the recreational harvest of giant Pacific octopuses before unanimously deciding to prohibit their harvest at Redondo Beach in Des Moines; Three Tree Point in Burien; Seacrest Park Coves 1, 2, and 3 (in West Seattle); an area adjacent to the Les Davis Fishing Pier in Tacoma; the Alki Beach Junk Yard in West Seattle; the Days Island Wall in Tacoma; and Deception Pass north of Oak Harbor. The new rules will take effect this fall.

Many were surprised to find out after last fall’s much-publicized incident, involving a boasted-about octopus catch, that the GPOs were not protected at all; divers and sportfishers subsequently joined the effort to figure out how/whether to change that, culminating in today’s vote.

28 Comments

  1. YEH!!!!

    Comment by scout15 — 11:25 pm August 2, 2013 #

  2. Well done all around! Classy coverage of a touchy subject. Thank you WSB, your attention to detail and genuine caring for the people behind the stories does not go un-noticed.

    Comment by DiverLaura — 12:09 am August 3, 2013 #

  3. So glad to hear this. Is there any plan to extend their protection throughout the Puget Sound region?

    Comment by wssz — 12:21 am August 3, 2013 #

  4. so, where exactly is the “Alki Junk Yard”?

    Comment by JanS — 12:37 am August 3, 2013 #

  5. An awesome win for the incredible GPO ‘s and those that love & admire them!!!

    Comment by Kip — 12:49 am August 3, 2013 #

  6. YEA!

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 3:39 am August 3, 2013 #

  7. ok people glad that there are places that are protected! that being said,, c’mon we need to be part of the sound its what we are all about! so instead of buying your food go out and get it!! pay for your lic and follow the rules but by all means go out and do!!

    Comment by danny — 4:52 am August 3, 2013 #

  8. That’s fantastic news. Thanks to all who made this happen!

    Comment by DEf — 5:20 am August 3, 2013 #

  9. no more tasty snacks

    Comment by w.s. maverick — 7:33 am August 3, 2013 #

  10. Love love love this video!!

    Comment by imdavette — 7:49 am August 3, 2013 #

  11. like

    Comment by mehud — 7:49 am August 3, 2013 #

  12. Agree Diver Laura!

    Cheers to the Commission and those who advocated for these graceful, curious creatures to be ambassadors for marine environment education.

    Long live Puget Sound and all of its natural wonders!

    If folks are not divers, I highly recommend a realtime visit to our local aquariums (Seattle and Tacoma). Fantastic experience, imho, for any age.

    Yeah!

    Comment by westseattledood — 7:55 am August 3, 2013 #

  13. Awesome movie — my kid loved it!

    Comment by NeighborMom — 8:14 am August 3, 2013 #

  14. Loved the video!!! Thank you Diver Laura and thank you Beatles for writing this song!!!!

    Comment by nemobeansmom — 8:37 am August 3, 2013 #

  15. To WSSZ,
    My understanding is that GPO populations in Puget Sound aren’t threatened by commercial or recreational taking, so I’m not sure a strong case could be made for extending these protections. But I think the significant point in this case is a “community quality of life” or public good issue became compelling enough to result in a reasonable, targeted policy change. Nice to see a swell of positive public sentiment have a practical outcome. Now how about that beach clean-up?

    Comment by JTB — 9:04 am August 3, 2013 #

  16. To refine wetseattledood’s comment, the time to visit the Seattle Aquarium is around noon when I and my other volunteers feed Triton, our 40+ pound male. If you bring children, there’s also our octopus talk beforehand that introduces kidlets to the wonders just below the waves.

    Comment by Chasmeister — 9:32 am August 3, 2013 #

  17. What wonderful news!! Thanks SO much to Diver Laura and WSB for sharing the important information that helped make this protection happen. You guys are the best.

    Comment by Trileigh — 9:56 am August 3, 2013 #

  18. JanS – The Alki “Junkyard” is offshore at the end of the public beach at about 64th street. It got its name because at some point in West Seattle History folks decided to dump things there, like old computers, car parts, washing machines bathtubs, toilets, etc… Its been tidy’d up a lot since the early 90′s when i started diving there, and has some neat enhancements put in by unknown divers that host delightful collections of small marine critters that wouldn’t normally be found on a sandy slope. This makes it a nice place for photographers and videographers who like the ‘small stuff’.
    It is more current sensitive than Seacrest so you will generally see fewer divers utilizing it. (Seacrest is in a little back eddy, so divers can dive there pretty much anytime without worrying about the currents)

    The sandy bottom (as opposed to fine silty bottom) is also useful for classes, so you will see groups from a few dive shops out there doing training on a regular basis, which helps reduce the traffic and overall impact on “Cove 2″ (Divers do impact the environment -both topside and underwater- whether we like to admit it or not).

    Comment by DiverLaura — 10:47 am August 3, 2013 #

  19. Yea! Yea! Yea!!!!

    Comment by Heather — 11:07 am August 3, 2013 #

  20. Wow..thanks for sharing such a beautiful video.

    Comment by Breezy — 11:10 am August 3, 2013 #

  21. How deep is the water at Alki junkyard? Probably a dumb question, but I always thought it would be very dark.

    Comment by Raincity — 12:00 pm August 3, 2013 #

  22. Take that Octopus punchers!!

    Comment by wsparent — 3:25 pm August 3, 2013 #

  23. I thought the same thing raincity. I was always under the impression that the water was murkier than the video shows

    Comment by Eric — 3:26 pm August 3, 2013 #

  24. Thank you! Thank you! Great video and good news against further killers of our Octopus friends!

    Comment by Claudine Erlandson — 2:02 am August 4, 2013 #

  25. Hey JTB, just because an animals population isn’t “threatened” means that it should be ok to kill it?! That’s the most arrogant and ignorant thing I’ve read in long time. Congratulations.

    Comment by Dave — 5:23 pm August 4, 2013 #

  26. Hi Raincity and Eric, as you can see, our amazing waters are called the Emerald Sea for a reason :) The junkyard video was shot in 30′, the depth there starts leveling off at 70-80. As long as it is daytime, there tends to be a fair bit of ambient light up in the 60′ and shallower range, and on VERY good visibility days you can look up from >100′ and see a most beautiful emerald glow… In summer, it alternates back and forth (due to the plankton bloom cycle) between 30-40′ horizontal and 5′ of murky-green-ness. The murkier it is with plankton, the greener the water on camera. When one of my videos is black it means it was a night dive done with very big video lights. If the water is kind of a turquoise then vis is STUNNING and you’ll be hard pressed to find me topside

    Comment by DiverLaura — 3:05 am August 5, 2013 #

  27. Dave, I believe you missed the intent of my comments. It should be clear that personally I applaud the community response that resulted in the change in regulations. I think Fish and Wildlife struck a balance between the interests of the hunting/fishing community and marine wildlife enthusiasts with this new policy. My comment about the health of the giant Pacific octopus population in Puget Sound was intended to indicate that any effort for an absolute prohibition against taking these creatures would most likely be very difficult. As a side note, I’m an avid diver and I practice the don’t touch, don’t harrass guidelines in observing marine life; I even find many UW photographers to be inappropriate in disrupting their subjects. I’ll suggest you might consider how often a thoughtful reading would obviate the need for a perjorative response.

    Comment by JTB — 8:08 am August 6, 2013 #

  28. This is great news!!! Great work, divers.

    Comment by I'mcoveredinbees — 1:57 am August 8, 2013 #

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