Pale Octopus (2020)

Octopus pallidus

  • Nils Krueck (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Victorian Fisheries Authority (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Paul Rogers (SARDI Aquatic Sciences, South Australia)
  • Nicholas Hill (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Karina Hall (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)

Date Published: June 2021

You are currently viewing a report filtered by jurisdiction. View the full report.

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Pale Octopus is distributed from the Great Australian Bight around TAS to southern NSW. Stocks are classified as depleting in Tasmania, negligible in NSW and SA, and undefined in VIC.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
South Australia South Australia Negligible
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Stock Structure

Pale Octopus is distributed from the Great Australian Bight around Tasmania to southern New South Wales. There is evidence to suggest that Pale Octopus shows complex biological stock structure, with a number of discrete subpopulations in Bass Strait (less than 100 km apart) due to limited dispersal and isolation by distance [Doubleday et al. 2008, Higgins et al. 2013]. However, further information is required to confirm the overall stock structure across southern Australia. Here, assessments of stock status are presented at the jurisdictional level—New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

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Stock Status

South Australia

Stock status for Pale Octopus in South Australia is reported as Negligible due to historically low catches in this jurisdiction and the stock has generally not been subject to targeted fishing. South Australia’s commercial catch of Pale Octopus over the past 20 years has averaged 10.7 t per annum, and the species is not a major component of recreational landings. Fishing is unlikely to be having a negative impact on the stock.

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Pale Octopus biology [Leporati et al. 2007, Leporati et al 2008a, Leporati et al 2008b]

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Pale Octopus 1.5 years, 1200 g Females 473 g, Males < 250 g
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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Pale Octopus
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Fishing methods
South Australia

Victoria – Commercial (catch) Pale Octopus is not differentiated from other octopuses caught in Victorian commercial fisheries.

Victoria – Indigenous (Management Methods) A person who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is exempt from the need to obtain a Victorian recreational fishing licence, provided they comply with all other rules that apply to recreational fishers, including rules on equipment, catch limits, size limits and restricted areas. Traditional (non-commercial) fishing activities that are carried out by members of a traditional owner group entity under an agreement pursuant to Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 are also exempt from the need to hold a recreational fishing licence, subject to any conditions outlined in the agreement. Native title holders are also exempt from the need to obtain a recreational fishing licence under the provisions of the Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993.

Tasmania – Commercial (catch) Catches reported for the Tasmanian Octopus Fishery are for the period 1 March to end of February the following year. The most recent assessment available is for 2018/19.

Tasmania – Commercial (management methods) A general possession limit of 100 kg of octopus per day (all species combined) is in place for holders of a fishing licence (personal) and a scalefish licence. This limit does not apply to Tasmanian Octopus Fishery licence holders operating in northern Tasmania.

Tasmania – Recreational (management methods) In Tasmania, a recreational licence is required for fishers using rock lobster pots, along with nets, such as gillnet or beach seine. A bag limit of five octopus and a possession limit of ten octopus (all species combined) is in place for recreational fishers.

Tasmania – Indigenous In Tasmania, Indigenous persons engaged in traditional fishing activities in marine waters are exempt from holding recreational fishing licences, but must comply with all other fisheries rules as if they were licensed. For details, see the policy document "Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities” (https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/Documents/Policy%20for%20Aboriginal%20tags%20and%20alloting%20an%20UIC.pdf).

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Pale Octopus - note confidential catch not shown
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  1. Conron, SD, Bell, JD, Ingram, BA and Gorfine, HK 2020, Review of key Victorian fish stocks — 2019, Victorian Fisheries Authority Science Report Series No. 15, First Edition, November 2020. VFA: Queenscliff. 176pp.
  2. Doubleday, ZA, Pecl, GT, Semmens, JM and Danyushevsky, L 2008, Stylet elemental signatures indicate population structure in a holobenthic octopus species, Octopus pallidus, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 371: 1–10.
  3. Hall, KC 2015, Octopus (Octopus spp.), in Stewart, J, Hegarty, A, Young, C, Fowler, AM and Craig, J (ed.s), Status of fisheries resources in NSW 2013–14, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Mosman, pp 231–234.
  4. Hall, KC 2018, NSW stock status summary 2018 - Octopuses (Octopus australis, Macroctopus maorum, O. tetricus and O. pallidus), NSW Department of Primary Industries, Coffs Harbour, NSW
  5. Higgins, KL, Semmens, JM, Doubleday, ZA and Burridge, CP 2013, Comparison of population structuring in sympatric octopus species with and without a pelagic larval stage, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 486: 203–212.
  6. Hill, N, Krueck, N and Hartmann, K 2020, Tasmanian Octopus Fishery Assessment 2018/19, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania.
  7. Krueck, N, Hill, N, Hartmann, K, and Fraser, K 2021, Tasmanian Octopus Fishery Assessment 2019/20, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania.
  8. Leporati, SC, Pecl, GT and Semmens, JM 2007, Cephalopod hatchling growth: The effects of initial size and seasonal temperatures, Marine Biology, 151: 1375–1383.
  9. Leporati, SC, Pecl, GT and Semmens, JM 2008a, Reproductive status of Octopus pallidus, and its relationship to age and size, Marine Biology, 155: 375–385.
  10. Leporati, SC, Semmens, JM and Pecl, GT 2008b, Determining the age and growth of wild octopus using stylet increment analysis, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 367: 213–222.

Downloadable reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.