How does science explain this phenomenon? We interviewed the marine biologist Julien Dupré


The spread of octopus on the seabed is an epidemic for fishermen on the Atlantic coast. This year, they devour oysters and oysters and deprive all the fishermen of the Great West. To find out more about this phenomenon, we interviewed Julien Dubreuil, marine biologist.

For several months, octopuses ravaged the bottom of the Atlantic coast. Lobsters, muffins, scallops, no species is immune to the predatory appetite of cephalopods. A huge shortfall for fishermen in the west of France because the octopuses sometimes end up in the traps and devour the fish. Unexpected new competition is disrupting the marine ecosystem and the fishing economy.

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To understand where this phenomenon comes from and what solutions there may be, we interviewed Julien Dubreuil, marine biologist from Quimper and project manager for the Regional Committee for Marine Fisheries and Marine Education (CRPMEM) in Brittany.

Julien Dubrell, have you noticed the culture of octopus?

We are clearly in a very special year compared to the last historic series. The phenomenon of octopus reproduction has already been documented, and we have some in the scientific literature of the 1950s and 1960s. I am standardizing the last outings from Morbihan. Significant numbers like these, we haven’t seen any data in the last decade. We are 20 times bigger than last year and therefore with really incredible payloads.

What are the reasons for this spread?

What makes this spread likely is the favorable aquatic climatic conditions that allowed the species to breed successfully last year. The species created saw more juveniles reaching adulthood and since this is a very fast growing species, they do not live very long. Octopuses usually live between one and two years and must grow very quickly and therefore eat a lot. It has a digestive system that adapts to consuming large amounts of food, especially oysters, shellfish, shrimp, crabs, scallops, glasses, and oysters. It is the target staple food.

How do we protect these resources and the fishing companies?

It’s very complicated. There are several axes with which to work. Yes, we are obliged to adapt the management. Let’s talk about the first scallop deposits in Morbihan, which opened this week [mi-octobre 2021, NDLR]The management has been completely adapted, fewer permits granted, fewer hunting days on the annual calendar and less hunting time. This is a much needed adaptation to the fact that there are fewer shells in the sediments.

Another basic need is the ability to hunt down all of these predators and bring them back. The octopus must be brought back, either by shovel, trap or trawl. It has a commercial value and above all what must be understood is that the land octopus is an octopus which no longer eats shellfish on the spot. That is why I told you about government support, we have to alert them and relax the regulations.

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