Yearly ban to save tiny Penghu octopus begins

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Yearly ban to save tiny Penghu octopus begins

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1 Yearly ban to save tiny Penghu octopus begins on Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:46 am

Joe

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An annual fishing ban on a species of small octopus native to Penghu County is to be in effect for 15 days beginning on Thursday, the county government said.

Sales of the species, which has yet to be classified, are also to be banned during this period, it added.

According to the Fisheries Act (漁業法), those who breach the ban could face up to three years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of less than NT$150,000.

Although the ban has been altered to be punishable under criminal law as opposed to administrative law, and the Penghu District Prosecutors’ Office has formed an ad hoc team to investigate potential violations, there are still reports of people capturing the species every year during the ban.

The octopus’ breeding period falls between February and May each year, when they gather in the intertidal zone along the coast and prepare to mate.

Unfortunately, capturing the octopuses by shining artificial lights into the ocean at night has become a popular activity.

Due to natural and human-related destruction of its habitat and overfishing, as well as its short life span and low fertility rate, the small octopus is facing extinction, the Penghu Agriculture and Fisheries Bureau said.

The number of octopuses born each year has dramatically decreased, the bureau said, adding that artificial breeding of the species has yet to succeed.

However, the ban has reportedly resulted in the price of the octopus increasing as supplies have decreased, with prices reaching as high as NT$1,000 per jin (600g) in recent years.

Local fishers say that the ban’s time frame is incorrect and have brought up the decrease in supply, the bureau said, adding that it would take their criticism into consideration when reviewing the ban for next year.

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