unusual harvest of octopus in gulf of mexico off yucatan


Dec 11, 2009
I recently spent time in the fishing village of El Cuyo Yucatan, Mexico fishermen from the northern shore of the Yucatan Penensula have concentrated there due to unusual populations of octopus. Harvest levels are 10 times normal take for similar amount of effort. Would anyone venture a cause of this population explosion. Past harvest of grouper, sharks and snapper have undoubtably impacted the prey predator relationships but this population increase is sudden and extreme. Any opinions?


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Oct 19, 2003
The stars are starting to get "right"? :cthulhu:

All jest left aside, :welcome: to the forum. Your own suggestion would be my first, but in nature it is more often true that the number of available prey items limits the population of a predatory species, not so much the number of predators it itself needs to ward off, keeping the population in check. In poikilotherms, the numbers are rather skewed, however; there's one spider to, say, ten flies, rather than one lion to one thousand wildebeest.


Certified Ceph Head For Life
Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
I have noted mounting reports that the northern hemesphere (and as far south as Peru) in general is having a bumper year for both squid and octopus. I wish I had noted all the small articles and fishing reports I have come across to document the thought. There is a paucity of cephs in Argentina and the octopus fishing industry is suffering badly there but to the north there seems to be quite a growth in most all populations. We have all read about the gigas (humboldt squid) invading in droves up the US West Coast but I have seen reports that the crabbing industry slowed to a crawl early last spring because of the number of octopuses raiding the catch here on the East Coast. I have also noticed comments on bumper crops of octos in Mexico (I didn't note the place but somewhere near the Yucatan Peninsula and it may be the area you were visiting). We have seen an unusual number of briareus, in influx of hummelincki/filosus (albeit for only a short time, from the Western and not Eastern Gulf) and even a joubini (very unusual in recent times). One animal I have not yet seen offered as an aquarium species is the vulgaris (absent from the pet trade for several years and may never really have been vulgaris) or an increase in bimac reports (although Ceph seemed to have easily found them for his class of educators).

Whether the influx is because I am paying attention more or not I don't know. I believe there is an el nino current this year that may be part of the positioning of new or more animals.

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