The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is exploring options for banning the harvest of giant Pacific octopuses off a Seattle’s beach and possibly elsewhere in Puget Sound.
Director Phil Anderson said the department will consider new rules to preserve the population of giant Pacific octopuses at Seacrest Park near Alki Point after a 19-year-old scuba diver provoked a public outcry after legally harvesting one recently.
Under current state rules, divers can harvest one giant Pacific octopus per day in most areas of Puget Sound.
At the recent commission meeting, Anderson outlined several possible options to preserve giant Pacific octopuses, ranging from designating Seacrest Park as a marine protected area to prohibiting hunting the animals anywhere in the state.
Anderson said the department will hold public meetings this winter to gather public input on those options.
At the same meeting, the commission heard public comments on management options proposed by Washington and Oregon to restructure salmon and sturgeon fisheries on the lower Columbia River.
Since early September, the two states have been working to develop a joint plan for phasing out the use of gillnets by nontribal fishers in the mainstem lower Columbia River by 2016.
Members of a bi-state working group are scheduled to reach agreement later this month on a final plan for consideration by both commissions. Additional information is available at goo.gl/MCG5q.