As you may know, the harvest of a giant pacific octopus (GPO) from Alki Cove 2 last fall sparked a heated debate on the extent and merits of existing GPO harvest rules in Washington. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has been busy investigating potential changes to these regulations and is prepared to make a final decision on the matter at the Aug 2-3 meeting in Olympia. Here are a few key findings from this investigation:
1. A survey with 4 potential options was circulated and public comments were collected. Half of all those who responded support a Puget Sound wide ban on GPO harvest – this option was nearly twice as popular as the second most popular option2. Less than 50lbs of GPOs are harvested annually by divers and fisherman combined
3. Those against any restrictions on the current regulations are doing so primarily because of a perceived restriction of their rights (and not because of a widespread interest in actively harvesting GPO)
4. The protection of GPOs in Puget Sound is estimated to provide the state with >$500,000 in ecotourism income annually
Simply put, it is time to close Puget Sound to GPO Harvest!!
In order to make this happen, we need to show the WDFW that the public still cares about this issue! The most efficient way to accomplish this is to deluge the WDFW commission with emails from concerned citizens and divers advocating for the protection of GPOs in Puget Sound. You are receiving this email because we need your help to make this happen! The critical meeting is THIS FRIDAY, and between now and then we must unite and make this happen. Here’s how to make this happen…
1. Visit http://wdfw.wa.
gov/commission/contact.html and fill in the required fields.
2. Under “Your message to the Commission,” choose “Giant Pacific Octopus Rulemaking”
3. Enter a message. Here is a sample message (feel free to copy and paste or add your own text)
“Giant Pacific Octopus are an iconic species in the Pacific Northwest, and they deserve our protection. I support a Puget Sound wide closure of recreational harvest of GPOs.”
4. PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO ANYONE ELSE WHO MAY BE INTERESTED! If you think they are interested in this issue, give them a chance to have their voice heard too (and encourage them to do the same)
We are incredibly close to making this happen. Let's push hard and finish strong! If you have any questions or would like to be more involved, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Scott Lundy, PhD
GPO Protection Initiative