The Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is the largest species of octopus in the world and an icon of the Pacific Northwest. Weighing over 150lbs and reaching lengths of up to 20 feet, divers travel from all across the globe for a chance to glimpse these majestic creatures in their natural habitat of Puget Sound. Alki Seacrest Park, located a mere 2 miles from the Seattle City Center, is the epicenter of this budding diving ecotourism industry and is regularly home to 1-2 Giant Pacific Octopus, (or GPOs). Even more amazing, many of these very special GPOs nest and nurture between 50,000 and 100,000 eggs, which represent the future of this magnificent species.
Despite their incredible intelligence and beauty, however, current fishing regulations do very little to protect this species. Current regulations permit the harvest of one GPO a day year-round, meaning a single ambitious diver could effectively decimate the entire Alki GPO population in a matter of days. Because of this, it is absolutely vital to the ecosystem of Puget Sound to protect this iconic creature, and the population residing at Seacrest Park represents an incredibly unique and valuable resource for divers and the city of Seattle alike. Protecting this population would empower visitors from around the world to visit and witness the majesty of our octopus population, educate the public about the importance of marine conservation, and establish Seattle as a world-class diving destination.
The Orca, the Sixgill Shark, the Wolf-eel – these are all iconic Pacific Northwest species that have earned the protection they deserve, and yet the Giant Pacific Octopus is conspicuously absent from this list. We request that the Washington Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and/or the City of Seattle (1) establish a GPO harvest-free zone encompassing the marine environment surrounding Alki Seacrest Park, and (2) begin evaluating the long term consequences of limiting GPO harvesting in Washington State.
Seattle, WA 98109
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