Tide of outrage rises over octopus kill in West Seattle

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on November 2, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 2 at 7:23 PM

The tide of outrage continues to rise over the killing of a giant pacific octopus in one the region’s most popular dive sites.

Divers were outraged Wednesday when they saw two of their own emerge from a dive off a beach in West Seattle. One of them was cradling an octopus he said he had just hunted and killed.

Octopus hunting is legal as long as hunters have a license and take only one per day. But at the West Seattle beach, where many people learned to dive and continue to visit, the octopus are like rock stars.

“They’re incredibly intelligent, curious, very playful,” said avid diver Drew Collins, who was getting his tanks filled after a dive an encounter with an octopus Friday.

When asked about the hunting photos, he replied, “I don’t know. The whole thing just made me sick.”

It made others, plenty of others, plenty mad. Dan Keffler, co-owner of Underwater Sports in Seattle, said he has been getting e-mail, calls and even threats from customers demanding he never sell air or equipment to the octopus hunters.

Keffler doesn’t recall ever meeting the two. But many divers who did say the hunters took a natural treasure, one of the spectacular and unique creatures of Puget Sound. Keffler said spotting a giant pacific octopus is a rare treat that divers constantly seek.

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officers say they checked out the hunters and believe it was a legal harvest. It is legal to hunt octopus as long as you have a license and take only one per day.
But taking one from this hot diving spot is like taking away a cherished pet.

We are not naming them but pictures of the hunters’ and supposed names are spreading like wildfire across social media and diving websites.  KING 5 contacted both hunters via social media and both refused to speak to us.
  
 

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