The octopus is a pretty amazing creature- but, its home is at serious risk
by Jackie Dragon
October 7, 2014
© Greenpeace / John Hocevar
Tomorrow, October 8, is Octopus Awareness Day. Octopuses are some of the smartest, most fascinating creatures in the sea my personal favorites!
And octopuses really need theawareness, especially in the Bering Sea, where they live alongside squid, starfish, and crabs in vast underwater canyons.These homes are being torn apart by fishing gear.
Fishing is virtually unregulated in the Bering Seas Green Belt, home to the largest underwater canyons in the world, and so full of life that whales, seabirds and other animals travel for hundreds of miles to dine on abundant fish fish that also attract huge industrial fishing fleets.
Heavy trawls crush coral and bulldoze the canyon slope, decimating the rare habitat where octopuses and other creatures shelter and feed.
Industrial fishing removes massive quantities of fish from the Bering Sea, leaving whales and endangered Steller sea lions with less to eat, and threatening the livelihoods of indigenous populations that have fished and hunted here for centuries.
Protecting these rare canyons would be a win-win for sustainable seafoodthey include spawning grounds and nurseries for commercial fish, but the amount of fish actually caught there is a very tiny percentage of the fishing industrys annual catch. This is exactly the kind of special place where we need ocean sanctuaries, as insurance policies for the future.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council meets in December, and Ill be there to urge them to set up protections for the Bering Sea Green Belt.
We still know so little about these massive canyons our submarine crew even discovered a brand-new species of sponge when we visited! We cant afford to lose this amazing place before we even know whats there.