Research Document 1998/87

Fisheries biology of the giant Pacific octopus (Octopus dolfeini) (Wulker, 1910), with a discussion of octopus fisheries in British Columbia

By G.E. Gillespie, G. Parker, and J. Morrison

Abstract

Concern over recent trends in octopus catch and effort and industry information prompted a review of octopus fisheries biology and a detailed analysis of British columbia octopus fisheries data. We reviewed octopus fisheries biology in general and provided detailed biological and ecological information for the giant Pacific octopus, Octopus dofleini. We also reviewed octopus fisheries off Japan, northwest Africa, Mexico, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. We discussed in detail British Columbia dive and trap fisheries, and bycatch of octopus in crustacean trap and demersal trawl fisheries. We discussed assessment and management frameworks used in other juridictions, and suggested potential frameworks that could be applied to B.C. fisheries, and each framework's information requirements. We recommended development of a directed octopus stock assessment program; a critical assessment of existing logbook programs; development of a commercial catch sampling program to determine which species, sexes and sizes of octopus were taken by each fishery; and management measures to limit expansion of B.C. octopus fisheries, until better assessment information was available. We briefly addressed other issues arising from our discussion of B.C. octopus fisheries.

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