UPDATED: September 5, 2023
The only octopus farm in the United States has been permanently shut down.
Kanaloa Octopus Farm on Hawai’i’s Big Island was ordered to suspend activities in January, 15 months after a Compassion in World Farming campaign called out its cruel and unsustainable practices. In the months since then, Compassion has kept pressure on the farm and continued to help spread the word about its true intentions. Now, the farm is closed for good, permanently halting operations out of Hawai‘i Ocean Science Technology Park after the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawai‘i Authority refused to renew its lease.
Now rebranded “Kanaloa Octopus Research Center,” the owner will no longer remove octopuses from the wild and force them into a petting zoo on land to be bred and farmed for meat, but instead plans to charter tourists out to sea to view octopuses in their natural habitat.
We would like to extend a massive thank you once again to all of our supporters who helped ensure this victory.
January 30, 2023
“[W]e’re not farming anything for meat” the owner of Kanaloa Octopus Farm in Hawai’i told reporters in reaction to Compassion in World Farming’s 2021 report "Octopus Factory Farming – a recipe for disaster."
Well, that’s certainly true now.
The only octopus farm in the US has been ordered to discontinue its activities by state authorities, 15 months after Compassion in World Farming called out the facility for engaging in cruel and unsustainable aquaculture practices.
The farm, which had been operating under the guise of a tourist attraction and a research facility for the production of cephalopods, had recently been exposed for its intention to harvest octopus for “ink for food products, ornamental trade and meat for local restaurants."
Back on World Octopus Day (Oct. 8) 2021, we wrote to Hawai’i’s governor, David Ige, urging him to withdraw government support of the facility—located at the government-funded Hawai’i Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park in Kailua Kona.
In the letter, we informed the governor that at the facility, juvenile octopuses are collected from the ocean and fattened in tanks, leading to “serious animal welfare and sustainability problems.” What’s more, YouTube videos of the Kanaloa Octopus Farm show octopuses instantly changing color in an attempt to camouflage themselves from tourists who are being encouraged to touch, feed and play with the animals. We called for an end to the development of octopus farming in Hawai’i and a state-wide ban.
People will be appalled to discover that the Hawaiian government sponsors the confinement and torment of these fascinating, inquisitive, and sentient creatures in a factory farm.
Compassion in World Farming US Executive Director, Ben Williamson, told the press in 2021.
Finally, authorities have had enough. Earlier this month the state’s Division of Aquatic Resources sent the facility a cease-and-desist letter for operating without the necessary permits, which are designed to prevent cruelty to animals and unsustainable fishing practices. The facility has said that it will discontinue its octopus breeding program.
While this means an end to possible octopus farming in the USA for the time being, Compassion is still fighting against this rising industry in other parts of the world.
Octopuses suffer greatly in captivity due to their solitary and inquisitive nature and there is limited legislation to protect their welfare in farms. Furthermore, there are no approved humane slaughter methods and their carnivorous diet makes farming them unsustainable and damaging to the environment.
We are so grateful to all of our supporters who made this victory happen and help fund our fight against cruel and unsustainable aquaculture practices around the world.