Increasing habitat availability provides increased dens for juvenile settlement, and dens to mate and spawn and therefore can contribute to increasing the abundance of Octopus vulgaris.
My research project was successful in increasing habitat availability for Octopus vulgaris as the artificial dens were occupied by octopus which was evident from direct observations of Octopus vulgaris occupancy, as well as midden and den formations. Occupancy of the artificial dens increased by 75 % from 19 days post den deployment to 27 days post den deployment and has continued increasing post data collection, and Octopus vulgaris have been observed mating in the artificial dens.
This project provides a low-cost nature-based solution to increasing habitat availability, and abundance, of Octopus vulgaris. The use of clay material to create the dens, as opposed to plastic, which is implemented in many fishing and artificial den projects, is crucial in increasing habitat availability without introducing more plastic pollution to the marine environment. Repurposing artisanal clay fishing pots into artificial dens for Octopus vulgaris is easy to implement, low cost and doesn’t have a negative impact on the community or the environment.