05/11/2012 06:48 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Dylan Mayer, Diver Receives Death Threats After Killing Giant Octopus In Seattle 'For Dinner'

A 20-year-old diver is receiving death threats after capturing a giant octopus and taking it home "for dinner".

Dylan Mayer caught the 30lb animal in Puget Sound, West Seattle, and was pictured unceremoniously dumping the still-live female onto the back of a pick-up truck before driving off.

Octopus hunting is legal in the region and Mayer did not break any laws.


Dylan Mayer and the still-live cephalopod in Puget Sound, West Seattle

Pictures of Mayer and his catch were posted on photography site Rapture of the Deep and the Facebook page of the Northwest Diving Institute.

Captions claim the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) was "clearly in distress and fighting, but divers repeatedly struck the mantel [body] and carried it up to the beach and to the parking lot, writhing and squirming."

Mayer told Komo News: "I eat it for meat. It's no different than fishing. It's just a different animal."

He claimed the idea to capture an octopus came from a friend's art project.

He added: "He wanted me to get something from nature, so I got an octopus. I caught it, and then these divers came up and started yelling at me. I ignored them and ended up driving away."

Mayer's family have released a statement pleading for calm and claiming he has received threats.

It said: "Our families do not deserve to live in fear based on the threats that have been made.

"Please keep this issue in perspective. This was about a couple of young men that were going fishing for the day. Nothing more. Nothing less. They were not aware they were doing anything wrong."


Octopus hunting is legal in the area where Mayer and an unnamed friend caught the animal

Mayer has since told KIRO radio he has no plans to continue hunting in the area.

He said: "I'm not gonna go there again. That was a misunderstanding. I didn't know people were gonna get that mad. I didn't think they'd get that mad at all."

A petition to save the giant Pacific octopus has since gained 2,112 signatures.

It says: "Despite their incredible intelligence and beauty, current fishing regulations do very little to protect the species.

"Current regulations permit the harvest of one GPO a day year-round, meaning a single ambitious diver could effectively decimate the entire Alki GPO population in a matter of days. Because of this, it is absolutely vital to the ecosystem of Puget Sound to protect this iconic creature."

It points out each female nest and nurture between 50,000 and 100,000 eggs, representing the future of the species.