A wildlife panel in Washington state has stepped in to protect the octopuses of Puget Sound, reports the Seattle Times. The state's Fish and Wildlife Commission yesterday banned the hunting of the giant Pacific octopus at seven popular diving sites. The move comes after a gruesome scene last fall when a diving instructor arrived at a Seattle beach and came across a recreational diver beating an octopus to death, reports AP.
After photos of the scene made the rounds, the diving community asked the wildlife commission to put some protections in place, both for the octopuses and their own interests: The octopuses help attract tourist divers. The wildlife panel agreed. "Washington is an important dive location, and protection of the octopus is important both to the dive community and to the economy of the state," says its commissioner. (Sea otters are in a fight of their own further south on the coast.)