16 Mar, 2023 @ 18:45
1 min read

Canary Islands octopus farm sparks criticism among scientists


A proposal for an octopus farm in Spain’s Canary Islands has sparked criticism from scientists who fear for their welfare

According to reports by the BBC, confidential documents have revealed plans to raise a million octopuses annually on a farm in the Canary Islands.

In the Canary Islands, Nueva Pescanova has formulated plans that involve keeping the typically solitary creatures in tanks with 10-15 octopuses which at times would be subject to significant amounts of light despite being used to the dark. The proposals seen are for 1000 tanks to be kept in a two-storey building in Las Palmas.

To date the sea creatures, which are considered to be highly intelligent have never been farmed intensively. The Oscar-winning documentary My Octopus Teacher brought worldwide attention to the intelligence of octopuses back in 2020.

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MY OCTOPUS TEACHER, poster, Craig Foster, 2020. © Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection from Cordon Press

According to documents seen by the BBC octopuses in Nueva Pescanova’s facility would be killed by being submerged in ice old water of -3C which some scientists have branded as “cruel”.

Already several supermarkets have committed to not selling fish killed by ‘ice slurry’ due to the stress this imposes on the animal in what is a slow slaughter.

Currently octopuses are caught in the wild using traditional methods of fishing such as pots, lines and traps. Breeding them presents multiple challenges not least because the larvae have a diet of only live food and are susceptible to changes in their environment.

There are also concerns that waste effluent could contaminate the sea nearby, which Nueva Pescanova would be pumping into, although they have stipulated to the BBC that the waste water would be treated.

The US state of Washington has already put forward proposals at banning the practice despite there being no existing industry. 


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