The seafood Spanish company Nueva Pescanova is planning to create the first octopus factory farm in the world, which will cause a great deal of suffering and death, not only among millions of these intelligent animals forced to live in captivity but also in the oceans.
It has been reported that this company has invested €65 million to build the world’s first commercial octopus farm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (Spain). It aims to produce 3,000 tonnes of octopus flesh every year. It plans to start marketing farmed octopuses in summer 2022 and to start selling them in 2023. There may be still time to stop this if enough pressure is put on the government of the Canary Islands autonomous region. The Animal Save Movement has now created a petition calling on the Governments of Spain and Gran Canaria to stop this octopus farm, and ban eating octopuses.
Most published research on octopus farming has been produced by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, but researchers from other countries such as New Zealand, Japan, and Mexico have also worked on this issue (so it would be worth keeping an eye on these countries too).
It seems that Nueva Pescanova is also seeking funding from the European Union’s NextGenerationEU Fund, so contacting them asking them to refuse it is something you could also do. If you are a citizen of the EU you could raise the issue with your Member of the European Parliament.
In 2019, Jennifer Jacquet, Becca Franks, Peter Godfrey-Smith, and Walter Sánchez-Suárez wrote an article about the damage that octopus farming will do to the marine ecosystems by putting pressure on populations of wild fishes caught to feed the captive octopuses.
Dr Jennifer Mather, an expert in the behaviour of octopus and squid at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta (Canada), said: “It’s probable that the octopus’s reaction to pain is similar to a vertebrate. They can anticipate a painful, difficult, stressful situation—they can remember it. There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain.”
If we manage to stop the first octopus farm, perhaps others may think twice before attempting to create another. You can find the Animal Save petition here.