Octopus vulgaris were collected with pots from August 1984 to June 1986 in a study to determine the fishery potential for the species off South Carolina. Potting was conducted from 11 to 30 km offshore at depths from 12 to 25 m. Octopi were caught in pots constructed of plastic
pipe and sections of automobile tires fished in longline fashion. The overall catch rate for the entire study was 27.8% (1,042 octopi/3,754 pots). Catch rates were highest in fall (42%) and summer (34%) and lowest during winter (13%) and spring (22%). The decline in catch rates during winter
was apparently related to falling water temperature. Minimal soak times before catch rates leveled off were about 6 to 10 days. Average size for all octopi was 0.91 kg with males and females averaging 0.94 and 0.87 kg, respectively. The largest average size by season was observed during winter
(1.07 kg) in Year I and fall (1.04 kg) during Year II. Octopi were smallest during summer in both years (0.70 and 0.64 kg for Years I and II, respectively). Some brooding females were collected during all seasons, but sexually mature females were most common during spring. Of 198 stomachs
examined for food, brachyuran crabs were most abundant (57%), followed by finfish (49%). Octopi appear to be sufficiently abundant off South Carolina to support a small-scale fishery.
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