Latin names: Octopus pallidus, Octopus tetricus

Common names: Common Octopus, Maori Octopus, Pale Octopus

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Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • In Tasmania, Octopus is caught using unbaited pots. Some catch is also taken as byproduct in baited lobster pots targeting southern rock lobster. Some commercial spear fishing, hand gathering and to a lesser extent, gillnetting occurs in Tasmania.
  • Tasmanian octopus fisheries primarily catch pale octopus, with smaller catches of maori and common octopus.
  • The amount of Pale Octopus caught in the most recently reported fishing year (2018/19) was at a record high, and was in breach of a proposed limit by almost 23t. If this level of catch is sustained, it could deplete the stock. There has been some indication of localised depletion particularly in some fishing grounds, although overall, the stock is not yet considered overfished.
  • The vulnerability of the octopus caught is still considered low because they grow and reproduce quickly, making them resilient to fishing pressure.
  • The main methods used to catch octopus in Tasmania are highly targeted, have very low impacts on seafloor habitats, and fishing poses a low risk to protected species.

Cooking & Recipes


You can buy octopus either as smaller ‘baby’ octopus, as larger whole specimens, or as individual legs. While cooking octopus can be complicated, it doesn’t have to be. It is well suited to barbecuing, with a light char and a squeeze of lemon complimenting the robust meat. For incredibly tender results, try braising the octopus first. Slow cooking in a sauce of tomato, wine and herbs will tenderise the meat, making a delicious stew to serve with pasta, polenta, or crusty bread.

More information

  • Tasmanian Octopus Fishery, Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery and the Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery (129t in 2018/19).

The Tasmanian  octopus fishery has been given a precautionary amber ranking because of the recent record high catch (it was formerly green), which was well above the long term average for the fishery. If this catch rate is sustained,  stocks could become overfished. There are currently inadequate constraints on the catch in Tasmania. However, this ranking has a strong potential to improve if more robust proposed management arrangements are introduced, including a limit to catches to better control fishing.

In Tasmania, octopus is caught using unbaited traps and pots, which are selective methods of fishing that have minimal impacts on seafloor habitats and threatened species. Shelter pots (which are unbaited, attracting octopus by providing habitat) are used, with a small amount of catch retained as byproduct in baited rock lobster pots. These fishing methods pose low risk to seabed habitats and have low levels of bycatch.