Octopus Killing in Washington Sparks Outrage

The killing of a giant Pacific octopus in a popular diving area near West Seattle, Wash., has drawn ire from the general public and divers alike and has led to calls for the state to stop issuing hunting permits.

The controversy began on October 31 when Dylan Mayer and a friend caught the octopus in question at the Alki Cove 2 in Elliot Bay. Local divers took pictures and confronted Mayer and his friend, who didn’t believe they had done anything wrong.

The blog Rapture of the Deep posted images taken at the scene and wrote:

The octopus was clearly in distress and fighting, but the divers repeatedly struck the mantle and then carried it up the beach and to the parking lot, writhing and squirming, where it was unceremoniously thrown into the back of a red Ford pickup truck.

Several local divers including Bob B. and Mark S. confronted the captors and and began asking questions. The individuals clearly did not care that they had just taken a beautiful octopus from one of the most popular dive sites in the state of Washington. The divers tried to reason with the hunters and explained that people come from all over the world to this site to see these GPOS.

The Northwest Diving Institute also shared the images and sparked further outrage in the diving community.

“They’re incredibly intelligent, curious, very playful,” diver Drew Collins told NBC News. When he was asked about the hunting photos, he replied, “I don’t know. The whole thing just made me sick.”

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officers checked out the issue after complaints were made, but found that everything was perfectly legal. Under state law, with a permit it’s legal to hunt and kill one each day.

Mayer claims he didn’t know what he did would make so many people angry, but contradicted himself when he told the Seattle Times that he chose one to kill that was not one of the regulars he sees.

The diving community remains unimpressed with his feigned ignorance, while other images reportedly grabbed from Mayer’s Facebook page of him kicking a porcupine and engaging in other cruel acts against animals circulate and add to the furor.

Threats have been made against Mayer’s family and he’s been blacklisted from scuba shops in the area.

The owners of Underwater Sports issued a statement and urged people to educate both divers and the public about Puget Sound’s ecosystem.

Although, what happened in cove 2 was perfectly legal, we feel it was ethically reprehensible. Underwater hunting and harvesting are unique privileges that are only available still due to wise resource management, conservation programs, and respectful usage. Alki Cove 2 is a well known hub for the famed Giant Pacific Octopus, which many divers consider to be a sacred species within our community. Cove 2 is one of the most popular dive sites in the Puget Sound region and to many divers is much like a petting zoo for our favorite underwater attraction. As such, at this point we feel our energies and resources are best served by protecting these precious creatures and/or their local habitats.

“People come from all over the state, if not all over the country, to visit octopus just over here,” Scott Lundy, who was a witness, told CBS. “One octopus lost its life, but hopefully we can save the others.”

Wildlife and octopus advocates are now trying to turn a negative situation into a positive one by urging the state to make Cove 2 a Marine Protected Area.


Please sign and share the petition asking the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect the giant Pacific octopus and stop issuing one-day hunting licenses.


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Photo credit: Thinkstock


Lynn C.
Lyn n C.3 years ago

When I read reports like these day after day, the only conclusion I can draw is that there will be no wild creatures left in a very short time. We cannot police everywhere, all the time and the "few" remaining plants and animals will be faced with their version of a fiscal cliff. This one will be real - not some political construct.

Here's the kicker - where does that leave the human species?

Carrie Anne Brown

voted, both petitions signed, thanks for sharing :)

Lynda H.
Lynda H.3 years ago

I'm glad you reported that, Diane. That sort of profanity and abuse is certainly not welcome here.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

I do correct myself a bit in that yes, Holli, I did address a comment using your "username" to reply to what you had said in a post. That is not "calling you out" at all. YOU posted in the discussion, I responded using your name to address what I was saying TO you to ask a civil question about your comment. YOU then contacted ME privately. I didn't call you names, and ESPECIALLY did not use profanity and in the case of your now 2ND message sent to me PRIVATELY, full of obscenities, you should seem to have a little trouble with facts.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

BTW, Holli, you failed to mention in your hostile and profanity-laced rant, YOU contacted me out of the blue. I never addressed you in this discussion at any time until now. YOU are the one who told me you are a meat eater, yourself. I didn't respond to you TWICE, as you are now trying to insinuate, but just once. It was a long response, but then so was your message to me. Of course, you fail to mention that to others. The "personal messaging" system is here for a reason and you have abused it. I didn't contact you at all except to reply to what you sent to ME in your personal message, and only once. That was once too many and you are now blocked..............however, I assumed you were a logical person, capable of understanding a civil message that was to respond to what YOU had sent to me. How wrong I was to think that.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

Holli, you have seriously crossed the line here. First of all, the profanity doesn't "cut it", and secondly, YOU contacted ME initially. I was polite and civil in my response. It's unethical to copy and paste and post publically what one writes to anyone else PERSONALLY. I never called you any names, but trust me, many are going thru my mind right now.

I'm very much aware of what scuba diving IS and what the skills involved can be used FOR. The rest of your rants are simply OUT OF LINE and completely against the Code of Conduct. Your mindset is pretty obvious and I apologize only for thinking you had contacted me in the first place to have a civil discussion. How wrong I was there.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

BTW, I also never accused PeTA of actually killing any mink. They DID raid a mink ranch and set 250 mink LOOSE to fend for themselves. ALL of those helpless animals were killed within days, and PeTA denied any involvement, period, yet card-carrying members were seen in the area by neighbors. It's a very rural area, so why would PeTA members be there in the middle of the night if they didn't live there? Just seeing them there wasn't proof they released the animals. Everyone knows they did, however. They've operated much like the IRA in many ways.........doing whatever they do in the dead of night and bragging about it yet denying responsibility OFFICIALLY so they escape prosecution. Newkirk lies all the time. Wait, PeTA isn't the topic here, is it? :) Whether the innocent woman that died in the fire-bombing of the U of W research lab was a janitress or a magician or anything else is not the topic, either............what IS, is that PeTA, thru A.R.L. was involved and the person who lit it is in prison. At first she denied it, then admitted it, but said she was unaware of any HUMANS in the building.

No, Patricia, not "fighting dirty" at all. YOU are the one who tried to make a "snide" accusation and imply that I had said A/R activists aren't to be trusted, but hunters never lie. I'd never said that, and explained it clearly. Too bad, since it is painfully true, you can't comprehend the relevance.

Lynda H.
Lynda H.3 years ago

I don’t believe the mention of PeTA was intended to be closely linked to this story: it was brought up because Patricia P wrote “You seem to imply that AR activists can't be trusted, whereas hunters, of course, always tell the truth.” Diane gave an example that AR activists cannot be trusted when it comes to the truth. Abusive comments to someone who answered a question are not relevant either.

Hunters do not always tell the truth, and neither do AR activists. All we have is evidence and law, and in this case both support Mayer. Whatever his reasons for catching an octopus, he had obtained a legal permit. He followed the rules of that permit. Condemning a person on hearsay and unfounded allegations is a transgression of human rights, and not something intelligent, fair people should do.

The claims of torture, sadism, killing a female with eggs, of photos on his FB site showing animal cruelty - this is a perfect example of dishonest AR activism. These allegations have all been disproved or found completely lacking in evidence.

I have a special affinity with octopus, and wish with all my heart that people would not kill them, but crucifying one young diver - possibly endangering his life - is not about the octopus: it is 100% about the agenda of the animal rights movement.

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen3 years ago

Patricia P.. some of the AR people say crazy things. so it's hard to trust anything they say. I am supprised they don't say the tail of a lizard is sentient because it twitches when it falls off.

I've seen videos on you tube labled "snake still alive wiggling in pieces". somehow a snake can still be alive with no head and in 6 pieces. maybe we just need someone to interrogate the guy for the full story and interrogate his friends.

lemonade board them. like waterbording, but with lemonaid.

that is how we get the truth

Patricia P.
Patricia P.3 years ago

Marta is correct when she says that bringing PETA into this discussion is completely irrelevant, and fighting "dirty." It would be like my pointing out that right wing hate groups like anti-abortion nuts and white supremecists have killed far more people than all AR groups rolled together.