You are reading: WA’s Octopus species has new proud Noongar name
calculating... December 23, 2021

WA’s Octopus species has new proud Noongar name

  • Our WA common octopus is found along WA’s coast as far as Israelite Bay
  • ‘Octopus djinda’ (meaning star) is the new scientific name for WA’s common octopus
  • Species underpins the world’s largest MSC certified octopus fishery right here in WA

In late 2019, Western Australia’s octopus fishery achieved the gold standard of Marine Stewardship Certification (MSC) as a sustainable fishery. However, scientific research revealed WA’s economically valuable octopus was in fact a unique and distinct species living without a formal scientific name.

WA’s octopus fishery is now valued at approximately $5 million annually, generated by a fleet of 25 fishing vessels and large processing facilities for Fremantle Octopus in suburban Perth and Abrolhos Octopus in Geraldton.

As well as Australian domestic sales, local companies that fish and process the octopus also export the premium seafood product to markets in Asia, the United States of America, Dubai and Europe.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Principal Research Scientist Dr Anthony Hart and WA Museum Research Associate Dr Michael Amor, who completed his PhD with a study that revealed the uniqueness of WA’s octopus as a distinct species, were tasked by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation with formally naming this species.

Following engagement with the WA Museum Aboriginal Advisory Committee and other stakeholders, 12 names were put forward and, after consultation, the scientists formally proposed the Noongar word ‘djinda’ meaning ‘star’. The new species name ‘Octopus djinda’ has now been formally accepted by the scientific community.

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Don Punch:

“I understand it’s rare for biology and ecology scientists to get to formally name a species and it’s perfect that a Noongar name has been chosen.

“Because ‘djinda’ means star in Noongar, I like the distinction it draws between its closest relative on Australia’s east coast named ‘tetricus’, which is Latin for ‘gloomy’ octopus.

“The habitat for our star octopus is in waters off the WA coast between 5 and 80 metres deep and one of only two octopus fisheries in the world with independent sustainability certification through MSC – meaning our WA octopus is a star in both name and sustainability status.”

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