Bumper year for octopuses found off the Cornish coast

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Cornwall Wildlife Trust said 2022 has been a “bumper year” for sightings of the eight-limbed molluscs, with one fisherman catching 150 in a single day rather than his usual one or two in a whole year.

Matt Slater, the marine conservation officer at the CWT, said: “I got really excited.

“I started receiving messages from our seasearch divers – not only because sightings of these striking animals are few and far between, but because they’d seen several of them on one dive.

“They are such amazing, alien creatures – one of the most intelligent animals in our oceans – and to witness a population explosion in our local waters would be incredible.”

The Common Octopus is known for its large eyes, soft bag-like body and tentacles which can grow up to 3ft.

Conservationists hope that the surge in sightings may be Britain’s first octopus boom in more than 70 years.

The CWT’s Matt added: “We hope this is a sign that octopus populations are healthy in our Cornish waters, but sadly not all of our marine life is thriving.

“By taking action for wildlife and recording your marine sightings with us, we can build up a picture over time and confirm if occurrences like this are a one-off or if octopus populations are steadily on the rise.”

Female octopuses lay tens of thousands of eggs which, once hatched, drift off with sea currents and have to fend for themselves.

The county wildlife trust added: “Many perish – but if conditions are good many can survive and this is why we sometimes get these big increases in populations.”

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