Valentine for the Sea

Sending out Valentine's e-cards from Monterey Bay Aquarium I saw one with an octopus "stuck on you." It reminded me of my experience up close with a live Pacific octopus aboard the Organic Ocean boat in Vancouver. In one trap an octopus had found a lovely breakfast of a Pacific cod and some delicious spot prawns. What impressed me so much was the care with which Frank Keitsch extracted the octopus from the trap, held it just long enough for us to photograph it, and then released it. He also shared that, while it was legal for him to keep that catch (probably lucrative, too!) he no longer has the stomach for it. Once he learned how old and how intelligent they can be, and how barbaric the killing is, he only ever releases them now. It was a gift from the sea to find myself up close and personal with this gorgeous creature.

Here are some photos for you - my Valentine's for you!

Frank Keitsch carefully extricating the octopus...

Frank Kietsch

detaching it...



photo op! photo_opSplash, back you go!


A little burst of brown ink for camouflage, as Frank predicted.


And he's gone.



If you love octopus, as I do, here are some things to consider when ordering it:

♥ The status of the octopus population is very hard to determine. That means we may be harvesting the last 10% or we may be harvesting only a fraction of the population. Is this a risk worth taking? To learn more, read this brief summary from Seafood Watch - Octopus, or read the report on Hawai'ian Octopus here.

♥ If the octopus you're contemplating chowing down on can predict the outcome of the World Cup, does he deserve to be spared? Even if he has no powers of prognostication, why else might he be worthy of life at sea rather than death in our belly? Read Sustainable Sushi's take on octopii, the mysteries of the sea and bottom trawling (a common method of catch.)

♥ Where did your tako or pulpo come from? This makes a difference. Learn why.

Pulpo Galician style in Valencia.