Fremantle Octopus working to expand its MSC-certified trigger-trap octopus fishery

Fremantle Octopus Sales Manager Jose Bento showing off one of the company's trigger traps.

Australia-based Fremantle Octopus is working to expand its Marine Stewardship Council-certified octopus fishery, one of just two octopus fisheries in the world that has achieved the MSC standard.

The company fishes for octopus along 3,000 kilometers of Australia’s coastline and catches an ever-increasing amount of octopus. Fremantle Octopus General Manager Emma Davison told SeafoodSource during Seafood Expo Global – running from 25 to 27 April in Barcelona, Spain – that the company currently catches 1,000 metric tons (MT) annually but that productivity increases by 15 to 25 percent each year. 

The company’s patented trigger trap fishing method, Fremantle Octopus Sales Manager Jose Bento told SeafoodSource, is the secret to the octopus fishery’s sustainability. 

The traps contain a piece of bait that octopus pull on when entering the trap. When pulled hard enough, a door at the back of the trap seals the octopus inside and prevents other fish from going in.

The bait is under tension, Bento said, so that other species cannot pull on the bait in a way that closes the trap.

“Only a large octopus is strong enough to pull the crab,” Bento said. “If it is small, it is not strong enough to pull it.”

The trap’s simple design means that the fishery has virtually no bycatch because other fish species cannot pull on the bait hard enough to cause the trap to close and smaller younger octopus are unable to pull on it hard enough. The trap also results in the quality of the fishery being high, as only larger, more desirable octopus can pull the triggers.…

Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource

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