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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Monday 16 April 2018

Setting up WA's octopus fisheries for a sustainable future

​For Western Australia’s commercial octopus fishers, their goal is to achieve the world’s gold standard for sustainability – independent third party certification through the International Marine Stewardship Council.

To help meet that goal, WA’s octopus fishery needs to be supported by a robust, formal harvest strategy that outlines the specific management and performance measures needed to ensure the long term sustainability of the octopus resource.

The majority of the State’s commercial octopus is fished from the West and South coasts, in the Octopus Interim Managed Fishery, with a smaller catch taken by the Cockburn Sound Line and Pot Managed fishery and also as a bycatch species in other fisheries, including by some Western rock lobster fishers.

Targeted octopus fishing first commenced in 2001 and innovative fishing techniques has led to the development of the commercial fishery – including the establishment of formal management arrangements for the octopus resource.

The main species targeted is Octopus cf. tetricus and it’s regarded as one of the best octopus species in the world, because of its taste, colour and texture. These benefits have helped seafood suppliers secure strong, local and overseas markets and importantly WA’s octopus fishery has Federal Government approval to export catch due to its sustainable management.

New trap designs have also been trialled in the fishery to help improve efficiency and more than 250 tonnes of octopus are caught by commercial fishers State-wide. The recreational catch is estimated to be approximately two tonnes annually.

The draft Octopus Resource of Western Australia Harvest Strategy 2018-2023 is now available for review during a four-week public consultation process.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Principal Management Officer Kim Walshe said harvest strategies provided guidance for decision-makers and set out objectives, performance indicators, reference levels and harvest control rules for fisheries.

“Eventually all of our State’s fisheries will have a formal harvest strategy to guide their management,” Dr Walshe said.

“Submissions made during the public consultation process will be considered, before the formal harvest strategy is approved by the Fisheries Minister and published of the department’s website ( later this year.”    

Details on how to comment on the draft Octopus Resource of Western Australia Harvest Strategy 2018-2023 are now available on the Public comment and consultation page.

Last modified: 16/04/2018 9:32 AM

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