The Kanaloa Octopus Farm (KOF), an octopus zoo which claimed to be a conservation research facility, is no longer operating in any capacity at the Hawaii Ocean Science & Technology Park, and the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) has chosen not to renew its rental agreement.
Despite the research claims, the zoo owner, Jacob Conroy, never published any research but profited by showing the octopuses he captured or bought to paying visitors. Several complaints had been filed about the facility, which closed to the public in January 2023. Before that, Kanaloa was hosting an average of 70 visitors daily at $50 per tour plus fees. In July, activists from the Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic, Hawaii-based For the Fishes and Moku o Keawe cultural practitioner Mike Nakachi, filed a request with Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources asking the agency to investigate the zoo. The coalition has also written to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority to ask the agency to terminate Kanaloa’s lease.
The so-called farm opened in 2015 but initially claimed it did not raise octopuses for consumption. However, in 2017, Conroy said his goal was for the farm “to become a production facility that can provide restaurants with a sustainable option for locally sourced octopus.” According to animal rights investigators, Kanaloa routinely violated Hawaii’s conservation rules and mistreated the animals in its care.
Responding to the confirmation of the closure of the zoo, Rachel Mathews, Acting Clinical Director from the Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic, said to Sentient media, “We’re relieved that KOF’s days of capturing and confining octopuses to barren touch tanks are through, and hope this sends a clear message that cephalopod farms have no place in a society that respects animals.”