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Editorial: Controversial octopus kill should lead to sensible policy
Some members of the public have overreacted to a 19-year-old diver’s recent, legal hunt. It’s time to learn from this experience and let the state do its job.
Seattle Times Editorial
THE Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is poised to flex its regulatory tentacles in the aftermath of a controversial hunt in Seacrest Park, a divers’ haven in West Seattle and home to the world’s largest octopus species.
Nineteen-year-old Dylan Mayer didn’t break any laws when he caught and harvested a Pacific octopus on Halloween Day.
But he broke a code understood by most other divers familiar with the area: The Pacific octopus is a beloved underwater creature that should be viewed, but not killed.
The community-college student was confronted on the beach by a more experienced diver. Several images of the octopus — with its limp tentacles dangling over the hunter’s arms — went viral on the Internet.
According to Seattle Times news stories, Mayer’s mother has received threats against her son.
In an effort to add a bit of levity to a serious situation, she has responded to the barrage of phone calls at their Maple Valley home by calling herself “Octo-Mom.”
A little “squid pro quo” ought to quell the overreaction to this sea tale.
Mayer regrets the episode and has publicly expressed his remorse. Humbled following a week of criticism and getting nicknamed “octopus boy” by diving bloggers, he personally appeared before the Fish and Wildlife Commission this week to call for a ban on harvesting giant octopus at the site where he was caught in action.
He reportedly told the panel, “I didn’t know they were so beloved, or I wouldn’t have done it.”
In turn, divers and others upset about the incident should forgive his inexperience.
The department should develop a sensible policy, whether that means placing some limits on harvesting or designating certain areas as marine preserves.