By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The tiny octopus, thought to be female, was caught Thursday at Freshwater Bay by a group of Feiro volunteers, said Deborah Moriarty, director of the marine center.
She is about 12 inches from arm-tip to arm-tip, estimated to be 18 months old, and is on display in a small tank at the marine life center.
The species, which can grow larger than 16 feet and 110 pounds, are the largest in the octopus family.
It lives along North Pacific coastlines, and in bays and saltwater inlets from Northern China to California.
The marine center’s former octopus, Lola, reached breeding age and was released last year, Moriarty said.
Lola had been at Feiro since early 2011 and replaced Ariel, who arrived in 2010. Each of them was caught in Freshwater Bay and released in the same area, she said.
Staff members and volunteers catch live crab off City Pier to feed octopus at the center.
During their three-to-five-year lifespan, octopus mate and lay eggs in underwater caves. Then both male and female will die in a life cycle similar to that of a Chinook salmon.
It's there to let people know the Feiro Marine Life Center is preparing for its fifth annual Fish on the Fence Gala fundraiser.
Tickets for the dinner with live music and auction, starting at
5:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Red Lion Hotel, are available at $50 per person at the Feiro Center, at the Port Angeles City Pier at 315 N. Lincoln St. or by phoning 360-417-6254.
This year's dinner will honor Conan McCarty as science student of the year, said Betsy Wharton, who's been a member of the Feiro Center's board of directors since the organization became an independent nonprofit entity five years ago.
McCarty, a senior at Lincoln High School and a natural resources student at the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center, has volunteered at Feiro for the past year.
This is the first year of what is intended as an annual student of the year award, Wharton said.
Fish on the Fence began as a marriage of art and marine science for high school students at Lincoln High School, Wharton said.
“They do some pretty intensive studies of fish, then do an art piece,” she said.
Since then, the project has expanded to other schools, with students creating their own take on what lives under the water's surface.
Wharton said that the fish project often draws families to City Pier, providing local students with a stake in the local waterfront.
The new fish are a school of ceramic herring created by local elementary school students. They were installed on the fence last Friday.
An opportunity to sponsor the herring school will be among the auction items.
Sponsorship includes a plaque engraved with the sponsor's name or a memorial posted on the fence near the fish.
Other auction items include a wild mushroom hunting gift basket; a two-to-three-hour sailboat cruise on the Blue Moon; a crab cruise with Expeditions Northwest; fresh home-delivered eggs for a year donated by the Morris family; an 8-foot El Toro sailboat donated by Orville Campbell; a pie-baking camp with Kate McDermott, nationally renowned pie baker; and an Elwha River rafting trip for six from Olympic Rafting.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.