Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

What to do with the Giant Pacific Octopus

giant_octopusXAs reported by The New York Times, Seattle has recently faced a debate regarding  the the Giant Pacific Octopus, the question being: to eat or not to eat. The controversy was sparked last Halloween, when Maple Valley resident Dylan Mayer dove from Alki Beach into the Puget Sound and combated with a GPO, eventually killing it and dragging it ashore and into his truck. While Mayer had a permit, a great thing about Seattleites is that we tend to think through the lens of our ideals instead of any codes, and angered bystanders took pictures, later reporting what they saw as the cruel poaching of a treasured piece of marine life.

The conundrum arrives with restaurants like Bar Sajor in Pioneer Square, which serves a salad that includes giant Pacific Octopus meat. The ongoing backlash towards the actions of Mayer coincided with the salad’s rampant success last Spring, and while Mayer publicly apologized at a meeting of the Washington Fish and Wildlife commission, the uncomfortable dilemma remains for seafood-loving residents of the area.

The giant Pacific Octopus is the largest in the world, considered to be a gem of the ocean, but the concern over eating them dulled after the construction of the law that allows harvesters to only take one of them a day-many figured that nobody would take the trouble. Having myself an affection for both the idea of preservation and the taste of seafood, I’m in the same boat (ha) as many conflicted consumers. The encouraging news later found was that GPO’s are thriving in the Puget Sound-information that might take a bit of guilt away from biting into that Octopus salad. But While the abundance of GPO life is a great accomplishment of Northwest conservation, such things seem much easier to tear down than to build, and though this may provide some eating room for concerned citizens, the hope would be not to disregard completely our collective intake of such majestic marine life going forward. I’m of course getting into a more general issue, one applicable to the hunting of many species. But as for the safety of the giant Pacific Octopus in the waters of Puget Sound, something about the people of Seattle tells me that they’ll be just fine.

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