The Conservation Collective has joined other world-class environmental organisations in signing an open letter to the European Union Commission to halt fish farming group Nova Pescanova’s plan to open the world’s first octopus farm in the Canary Islands of Spain.
Despite the lack of information provided by Nova Pescanova about the precise logistics of the farm, the company aims to go into operation in 2023 and declared an estimated annual “output” of 3,000 tonnes of octopus meat, which would entail the farming of at least 300,000 octopuses a year. Since maintaining ideal growth conditions in the open ocean is logistically near-impossible, they intend to raise the octopuses in tanks on land. While these tanks are more convenient for the industry, they are incredibly resource-intensive to run which raises questions about energy use and emissions. Additionally, it is unclear how the large quantities of water will be treated before being released to the waterways.
Here are 4 additional reasons why we oppose the octopus farm and call for a ban on the production and commercialisation of farmed octopus:
- Their carnivorous diets would be unsustainable: Providing fish meal for all farmed individuals would put even more unsustainable pressure on the already depleted local fish stocks.
- They are not an efficient source of food: It takes 3kg of food to yield 1 kg of octopus meat – an incredibly inefficient way of using the world’s food production resources. For this reason, octopus farming was deemed incompatible with the EU Strategic Aquaculture Guidelines in the past.
- The intensive farming of any species is associated with increased health risks: The enclosed conditions of the farm would favour disease spreading across octopuses, which could in turn lead to human transmission.
- Octopuses are highly sentient and complex beings, and not enough is known about how they would cope in captivity.
Information drawn from “Dr. Elena Lara. (2021, October). Octopus factory farming: A recipe for disaster. In Compassion in World Farming International.” and “Jacquet, J., Franks, B., Godfrey-Smith, P., & Sánchez-Suárez, W. (2019, season-04). The Case Against Octopus Farming. Issues in Science and Technology.” and Ocean Born Foundation.