Croatia: Research into restoring octopus populations begins

by Thomas Jensen

Octopus populations in Croatia have been affected by overfishing and hunting by recreational and professional fishermen. Octopus is primarily used for food in Croatia. As octopus stocks have decreased in recent years, they continue to be overfished as their perceived rarity has increased the product value. Researchers at the University of Split are now exploring the viability and potential for octopus restocking. This research has involved the release of hundreds of thousands of octopus larvae into the sea. The researchers will then track the integration of the octopus into the ecosystem and the wild population. The hope is to develop optimal conditions for octopuses’ survival to help the populations rebound. Currently, only 1% of octopus survive the larval stage and increasing this percentage is imperative for successful restoration. To monitor the success of the released larvae, the scientists are manually tracking the octopus larvae using genetic samples, and they have asked fishermen to contribute to data collection by providing samples for DNA analysis when they catch an octopus.

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