OLYMPIA - A new rule that provides additional protection for giant Pacific octopuses will take effect Oct. 6, when the recreational harvest of the species will be prohibited at seven popular scuba diving sites in Puget Sound.
Those dive sites include:
- Deception Pass north of Oak Harbor
- Seacrest Park Coves 1, 2 and 3 near Alki Point in West Seattle
- Alki Beach Junk Yard in West Seattle
- Three Tree Point in Burien
- Redondo Beach in Des Moines
- Les Davis Marine Park adjacent to the Les Davis Fishing Pier in Tacoma
- Days Island Wall in Tacoma
More information about the sites where octopuses are protected is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/viewing/octopus/.
While the octopus population in Puget Sound appears to be healthy, the new rule makes viewing opportunities for these magnificent animals a priority at the sites, said Craig Burley, Fish Management Division manager for WDFW.
"Puget Sound is one of the most popular dive destinations in the nation, and giant Pacific octopuses are one of its main attractions," Burley said. "These new areas provide additional protection for the species and a greater chance for divers to see these fascinating animals."
The new rule takes effect nearly a year after a scuba diver provoked a public outcry after legally harvesting a giant Pacific octopus at Seacrest Cove 2 in West Seattle. The strong, negative reaction from the public and the dive community prompted WDFW to explore regulatory options for banning the harvest of giant Pacific octopuses.
After working with a 12-member citizen advisory committee that included members of the sportfishing and diving communities, WDFW developed options earlier this year to provide a greater degree of protection for octopuses in Puget Sound.
In August, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission considered the options and voted to prohibit recreational harvest of the species at the seven dive sites.