Two divers prepping for a dive in Alki's Cove 2 on Wednesday say they were confronted with a grisly scene: two divers, both young men, emerging from the water towing a live, giant pacific octopus.

"They were punching it as they were towing it in, and it was obviously alive," says Scott Lindy, one of the divers watching from shore. Lindy and his dive buddy started taking pictures of the men and the live octopus, which they threw in the back of their pickup truck. The two hunters couldn't be reached for comment.

Now, bolstered by a growing group of divers who've been outraged by their photos, the men are lobbying to make underwater hunting illegal. "We've approached the Washington Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to request that capturing giant octopus be limited or made illegal entirely statewide—or at the very least, in West Seattle," Lindy explains.

  • Scott Lindy and Bob Bailey

Hunting giant pacific octopus is currently legal in most areas of Puget Sound with a recreational fishing license—the limit is one a day—but divers flock to West Seattle dive spots, among others, to see them in their natural habitat. Lindy says that the two men admitted to taking the giant octopus off its nest of eggs.

"It might be legal but it’s the manner in which it was done that’s very disruptive, primarily because we were told by the individual who took it, that this octopus was on eggs," Lundy explains. "By killing her, those thousands of eggs are now dead."

Lindy and Bailey reported the two men to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, but the department found nothing to suggest that illegal activity had occurred.

  • Scott Lindy and Bob Bailey
"We had an officer talk to the guy who'd done the killing, it appears to have been taken in a legal area, although it is fairly close to an underwater marine preserve—the Richey Sr Viewpoint," says department spokesman Craig Bartlett.

But Bartlett says that, given the feedback his department has received over a few pictures, there's a good shot divers will succeed in changing the rules on octopus hunting. Fishing rules are made by a nine-member citizen commission, which is scheduled to meet again in a matter of weeks. "The rules do change," he says. "They're informed by societal mores as much as by biology. And in my 13 years here, well, I wasn't even aware of the status of octopi but now all our fishery managers are looking into whether this is appropriate [in West Seattle] and in other places."