Cruel plan to open world's first octopus farm doesn't stop (despite protests)

The opening of the first octopus farm in Las Palmas, Spain is provoking protests from animal rights activists, environmentalists and scientists

He is about to end up run over, his mother saves him

The incredible intelligence and sensitivity of the octopus does not matter when economic interests prevail. This applies to the Spanish multinational Nueva Pescanova which - despite the warning of the scientists - continues with its plan to exploit this animal, not caring about ethics and the environment, to open up what could be the world's first commercial octopus farm.

Meanwhile, national and international animal rights associations and groups are struggling to prevent this from happening. In addition to shaking up social media by denouncing its cruelty, they took to the streets against the first octopus farm in the world trying to convince the government of the Canary Islands - currently engaged in verifying the environmental impact requirements of the project - to deny authorization for the plant.

We have condemned other species to live enslaved, exploited for life on farms, we do not now condemn octopuses too ”, declared the animal rights activists during the demonstration held in Las Palmas on February 5th.

It is an aberration that there is an attempt to open an octopus farm in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria! This past Saturday we gathered before the @AyuntamientoLPA to show our rejection and demand that they stop this madness.#StopGranjasDePulpos #FreeOctopus

— PACMA (@PACMAParty) February 7,


The alarm of the scientists

A team of experts reviewed more than 300 scientific studies and compiled a Report on the Evidence of Sensitivity in Cephalopod and Decapod Crustaceans, published by the London School of Economics and Political Science in November 2021, which concludes that the octopuses are sentient beings and there is strong scientific evidence that they can experience pleasure, excitement and joy, but also pain and distress.

Octopuses are complex and intelligent animals, they are amazing animals that need to interact with the environment. So the farms, which are characterized by being inhospitable and sterile, are not suitable places for them ”, assures Dr. Elena Lara, director of research at CIWF and author of Intensive Octopus Breeding: a recipe for disaster.

So too the scientific community has sounded the alarm by highlighting the academic advances that provide evidence to determine that octopuses are sentient beings. A decision like that of the farms has great ethical implications, but also political ones, because the octopuses could benefit from welfare regulations that protect them.

They are very intelligent animals and these conditions are fundamental to understanding the problem, because in order to live they need to be able to develop their cognitive abilities, without which they would be bored, consequently causing stress problems which in turn would end up weakening the their immune systems and predispose them to disease. Furthermore, they are individuals without an internal or external skeleton, with very sensitive skin, they need shelters to hide and, in captivity, the norm is to keep them in aquariums where they cannot take refuge and harm each other easily ", explains María Suñol, researcher and PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Barcelona.

Lourditas and the new exploitation industry

Despite the alarm about the over-exploitation of the seas and oceans, the demand and value of the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) increases every year. The aquaculture sector has been relying on these wonderful animals for years, however a series of biological characteristics, difficult to manage in captivity, have so far prevented their large-scale breeding. Unfortunately something could change.

The Nuova Pescanova project is the conclusion of decades of research by organizations such as the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO). Ironically, the multinational considers that their future breeding takes into account animal welfare and sustainability, boasting of Lourditas, the first octopus to be born, raised and become a mother in captivity, with great-grandchildren who have just become parents themselves. Great-grandchildren who this summer will arrive from their center in Pontevedra in a plate.

Grupo Nueva Pescanova's commitment to aquaculture as a complementary activity to fishing aims to ensure the availability of marine resources for future generations, while promoting greater protection of wild fishing areas ”, reads the multinational's website.

How can herds of sentient beings designed to be "food" and condemned to a life of slavery in floating cages be considered well-being? Not to mention the lightness of the use of the word sustainability. To help stop the depletion of marine resources, consumption should be reduced, not favored. Also, rather than investing in animal exploitation, why aren't you looking for alternatives to octopus as you are doing with meat?

Octopus farming in Mexico

©Molluscs of the Mayab/Facebook

Spain isn't the only country trying to breed octopuses. In Mexico, a group of women from the Sisal community, in Yucatán, formed the Moluscos de Mayab cooperative which, with the support of researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), aims to start the first Mayan Octopus farm.

As a consequence of climate change, the sea off the coast of Yucatán is warming, which, according to recent studies, could affect the reproduction of the species and therefore on marine biodiversity, with all the economic, social and environmental consequences that this would entail. including the repercussions on the livelihoods of the inhabitants of Sisal.

Of course, it will not be the farms that will save the octopus from water heating and overfishing, as they want us to believe. It is our anthropocentric vision that sees exploitation as the solution. Silvia herself from the Moluscos de Mayab cooperative confessed that every day they have to feed the octopuses at certain times, if you touch a few minutes the specimens begin to devour each other.

Solitary, capable of dreaming, with three hearts, eight arms and high levels of intelligence, octopuses are undoubtedly fascinating creatures. While in the UK they have been recognized as sentient beings to be protected in the animal welfare bill, Spain will shortly begin marketing its exploitation in cages to answer the commercial "demand". Demand created by our excessive consumption.

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Source: Pacma / UNAM / LSE / El País / Public

For more information on why octopus farms must be stopped, read also:

  • Octopus farms: why they are cruel, harmful to the Planet and must be stopped #WorldOctopusDay
  • The first octopus farm is about to become a reality in Spain but it is a terrible cruelty
  • Do you know what's behind octopus fishing? The investigation that lifted the veil on this cruel practice
  • Historic breakthrough in the UK! Octopuses, lobsters and crabs recognized as sentient beings
  • Octopuses and lobsters are also extremely intelligent, feel pain and should be protected by law
  • Octopus farms may become a reality, but scientists warn it's not a good idea ...
  • No, there is nothing affectionate about the giant octopus of the Genoa Aquarium that trapped the diver cleaning the tank
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