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News Section Icon Published 4/2/2024

Nine-year-old Lily Niederhofer, who lives in Portugal, is taking on an amazing challenge – to swim two kilometers in the Atlantic ocean to help raise funds for our campaign to stop the world’s first commercial octopus farm.

Octopus-loving Lily has been a vegetarian for years and is a passionate defender of the ocean and marine wildlife. When she heard about plans to build an octopus factory farm in Gran Canaria in Spain, she was motivated to do all she could to stop it from happening.

Lily wears a t-shirt and shorts and her blonde hair in pigtails while standing on the beach with the ocean behind her, smiling at the camera.
Lily Niederhofer of Portugal will be swimming two kilometers in the Atlantic ocean to raise funds to stop the world's first octopus farm.

Lily reached out to the Ocean Born Foundation, which has been committed to supporting and building her campaign from the beginning. Ocean Born connected Lily with our team following her decision to donate all the proceeds from her sponsored swim to our campaigns and advocacy work to stop this octopus farm.

Lily’s Octoswim Challenge

While Lily is a proficient swimmer and has undertaken a number of competitions, completing this challenge in the notoriously difficult conditions of the Atlantic requires a lot of mental and physical strength.

Lily S Swim For Octopus Training Promotional Photos For Lily S Swim For Octopuses. Lily Is Taking On An Open Water Swimming Fundraiser In Algarve In 2024 2
Lily has been training to two days a week to undertake this challenge.

The swimming event is due to take place on the weekend of May 25, 2024 in the Algarve. She will be training in the open water twice a week, balanced around her studies. 

The cruel practice of octopus farming

In 2023, we, along with Eurogroup for Animals revealed plans from Spanish seafood company Nueva Pescanova to open the world’s first commercial octopus farm on Gran Canaria.

A light orangish-coral octopus swims in the dark ocean.
Octopus are intelligent and solitary creatures that should never be subjected to factory farming.

The plans raise serious concerns about the treatment and welfare of octopuses, as well as the environmental impact of such a farm. Octopuses are unique, intelligent creatures who have been known to use tools and complete tricky tasks. Naturally solitary, they are entirely unsuited to confinement and would suffer in overcrowded factory farms. They would also be slaughtered using a cruel method called ‘ice slurry’, which causes a slow and painful death.

World’s first octopus farming ban

Recently, Washington state passed a bill to ban octopus farming, the world’s first legislation of its kind. However, Nueva Pescanova is still pursuing plans to open the farm in Spain, which will rear around one million octopuses each year.

A screenshot of Allie Molinaro testifying remotely in front of the Washington state Senate to support banning octopus farming.
Compassion in World Farming's U.S. Campaigns Manager Allie Molinaro testified in front of the Washington state Senate in support of banning octopus farming, a few weeks before the bill was passed.

There are also numerous environmental and sustainability threats from octopus farming. Rearing carnivorous octopuses require huge amounts of feed, contributing to overfishing at a time when fish stocks are already under pressure. And there are other concerns around energy and water usage, and consequential pollution.

Lily, a compassionate animal lover, and keen environmentalist, comments: “Octopuses are such incredible and intelligent creatures; they fascinate me… I recently found out about a proposed octopus farm in the Canary Islands, and I think it is really cruel to these amazing creatures.

“So, I have decided to combine my love for swimming with my passion for protecting our planet and my Octofriends."

Lily looks up smiling at the camera with swim goggles on while swimming in a blue pool.
Nine-year-old loves to swim and loves octopuses.

The Ocean Born Foundation is dedicated to protecting and restoring the ocean by creating new, sustainable streams of income that ensure the well-being of the planet for future generations. Through Lily's campaign, the Foundation seeks to uplift the voices of young people around the world who will need to live with the consequences of our actions today.

To find out more about Lily’s swim and to sponsor her please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/page/helplilystoptheoctopusfarm

Other kids and teenagers who love the octopus and the ocean are encouraged to join Lily as part of her Octo-Defenders Team (bit.ly/Octo-Defenders).


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