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Pulpo aplenty: Octopus fishing begins

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Octopus season began Saturday in Yucatan.
Octopus season began Saturday in Yucatan. Government agency photo

On Saturday, about 15,000 fishermen and 70 fishing companies began to capture the Mexican “four-eyed octopus,” or the Mayan Octopus,  off the coast of Yucatán and Campeche. The creature has spots under its two eyes, earning it the misleading nickname.

Experts estimate that this year’s capture will exceed 10,000 tonnes, or around 11,000 tons. That’s short of last year’s haul of 24,562 tonnes, during what was considered a banner year for pulpo, the Spanish word for this delicacy.

The minimum size for each octopus caught is 110 mm in length for males and 140 mm for females. Smaller vessels equipped with an outboard motor will be allowed to participate as well as older ships with up to 12 landings.

Where does all the pulpo go? Much of it is exported from Progreso to Livorno, Italy; and to Japan. Octopus trade pumps 500 million pesos into the economy.

The Mayan octopus is a unique species among the 150 counted in the world, and to preserve the species, its season lasts only from Aug. 1 to Dec. 15.

The waters off the peninsula account for 90 percent of all octopus production in Mexico.

Source: Press release

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