TEMPORARY PROTECTION OF OCTOPUS

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A common octopus, Octopus vulgaris, at Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Aquarium.

As part of its continued efforts to manage the population of Common Octopus in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change (DEHCC) will be implementing a temporary Octopus fishing ban from the 15th April to the 15th May 2017, both dates inclusive. The measure has been discussed and agreed within the Fishing Working Group set up under the Marine Protection Regulations (2014), at which all the fishing associations are represented.

Temporary bans are one of the most effective measures used to sustainably manage fish stocks. Similar bans are regularly implemented throughout the Mediterranean although this is the first time it is being applied in Gibraltar as part of the Government’s wider marine protection programme. The objective of the measure is to protect octopus at a time when they are laying eggs, and so improve breeding success. The measure builds on the introduction in 2014 of a minimum weight (1.5kg) for Octopus caught in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, and is expected to result in an increased number and size of Octopus found in Gibraltar’s coastal waters in this and future years.