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State eyes new octopus rules

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking nominations through Feb. 15 for membership on an advisory group being formed in response to the legal harvest of a giant Pacific octopus in Seattle last October.

Up to 12 qualified individuals will be chosen to serve on the ad hoc group and develop recommendations for protecting giant Pacific octopus in Puget Sound. The group will meet periodically through the end of August.

Craig Burley, WDFW fish program manager, said the commission’s examination was prompted by the controversy stirred by the legal harvest of a giant Pacific octopus off Seacrest Park in Seattle last October. Under current rules, divers may legally harvest one giant Pacific octopus per day in those and most other waters of Puget Sound.

Burley said the advisory group will be asked to develop recommendations within a range of options, among them closing all of Puget Sound to the recreational harvest of giant Pacific octopuses, closing just popular dive sites to octopus harvesting, or even closing dive sites in Puget Sound to the recreational harvest of any species, not just octopuses.

Nominations must be received by Feb. 15 and sent to Craig.Burley@dfw.wa.gov. For more information, call Burley at 360-902-2784.

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