Seattle, WA — Dylan Mayer caught an octopus in Washington’s Puget Sound. As he and his friend dragged the huge octopus out of the water, local divers descended on the pair, accusing them of killing one of the Sound’s most valued creatures. Angry divers took photos of the 20 year old as he loaded the octopus into the bed of his pickup truck, and the young man has since received dozens of angry emails and calls. Mayer, who dreamed of becoming a rescue diver, has even been banned from several diving shops and schools in the area.
Mayer said he can’t understand why.
Mayer has a valid fishing license. According to the game warden, he didn’t do anything illegal. “I eat it for meat. It’s no different than fishing. It’s just a different animal,” he said.
But local divers say that hunting octopi, who come to the area to lay eggs, just isn’t right. According to state law, Mayer followed the rules. He had a license to fish, he was allowed to take the animal from the water with his hands. Octopi are not protected in these specific waters. “Everything that happened was legal,” according to local news.
But local Bob Bailey says that doesn’t make it right.
“It’s just not done,” he said. “It’s bad form. Even if you can do it, you shouldn’t do it.” Bailey allegedly saw the pair of young men drag the octopus from the water. “As they were coming in you could tell the octopus was alive. It was writhing around and they were wrestling with it,” Bailey said, noting that it seemed cruel that the animal was still alive.
Scott Lundy, another local, saw them toss the female octopus in a pickup truck. “Sitting in the back of this truck, it was just squirming and writhing almost. It was really just a sad thing to see,” he said.
Others accused Mayer of taking a female octopus from the water when she probably had eggs to take care of. But Mayer says the claims are false. “That’s not true. There were no eggs under it, and we checked,” he said. “I even had a game warden come over and look at it, and even they said there was no problem with it.”
The involved game warden, Wendy Willette, said that while Mayer didn’t do anything illegal, he could have done things more delicately. “I think the timing, manner and place where the harvest occurred may be the issue. It could have been done at a better time,” she said. “It’s like deer hunting. You don’t kill a deer while kids are viewing it, and I think it’s a similar problem here. You need to be sensitive to other drivers and people if you’re going to be a sportsman.”
Mayer said that, if he were to hunt another octopus, he would definitely do things differently. “I probably would have gone at a different time. I probably would have gone to another area of Cove Two,” he said. “The bottom line is another octopus will move up into that area and take its place.”
According to local news, Mayer – who dreamed of being a rescue diver – is now being banned from several diving schools. His life-long dream is in jeopardy, all because of the local divers’ response to his perfectly legal actions.
Do you think that Mayer should be ostracized for his actions?