August 3, 2013 in Region

Octopus hunting at scuba sites banned by panel

Associated Press

OLYMPIA – A Washington state panel voted unanimously to prohibit recreational harvest of giant Pacific octopuses at seven popular scuba diving sites in Puget Sound.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission began reviewing the rules after a diver killed an octopus in October near Alki Point in Seattle. A diving instructor who arrived on the beach saw the man beating the octopus to death.

The commission voted Friday after the state Department of Fish and Wildlife developed options ranging from no rule changes to banning the recreational harvest throughout Puget Sound.

The Seattle Aquarium says giant Pacific octopuses average 90 pounds and their arms can span 20 feet across, but a fully grown octopus can fit through a hole the size of a lemon.

Giant Pacific octopuses can change color at will depending on their surroundings and mood.

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