My first Friday Funny will be in honor of the Giant Pacific Octopus (GPO) that was killed by SCUBA divers at Cove 2 in West Seattle on Halloween. While the method in which the diver took the animal is legal and he had a valid shellfishing license which allowed him to take one GPO a day, he took the GPO from a popular diving spot in Seattle. In consequence, many SCUBA shops have banned this diver and his buddy from their stores. A movement is also underway to make Cove 2 a Marine Protected Area (MPA), like Edmonds Underwater Park, north of Seattle, which would restrict fishing and hunting. Among the supporters are the Seattle Aquarium and many local dive shops.
While many people hunt with the use of SCUBA, this incident particularly upset me for two reasons: 1) GPOs are charismatic, beautiful, and intelligent animals (which may seem unfair to all the fishes and crabs taken)and 2) neither diver used the animal for food. They only killed it for sport. Many people and news articles have cited this behavior as one of many alarming acts of animal cruelty by this diver, including allegedly playing soccer with a live porcupine and putting a lit fire cracker in a snake’s mouth. He allegedly drove the GPO out of its den by banging two metal rods together (which is legal), and wrestled it to the surface, where he proceeded to punch it until he got it to shore.
GPOs are the largest octopus in the world, and people travel from all over to see them in the Pacific Northwest. While it was not illegal for the diver to kill the GPO, as a fellow diver it horrified me to see such disregard of nature and life. I was thrilled to see a GPO tentacle with huge suckers coming out of it’s den at Cove 2 on one of my exit dives for SCUBA certification- I can’t imagine wanting to kill that animal.
What do you guys think? If you would like to advocate that Cove 2 be an MPA, you can contact the Fish and Wildlife Commission of WDFW at the address and phone numbers below.
Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission:
600 Capitol Way N.
Olympia, WA 98501-1091
Miranda Wecker, Chair
Gary Douvia, Vice Chair