In advance of World Octopus Day (October 8th), we have joined forces with 75 NGOs, experts, and public figures worldwide to urge the Canary Islands government to reject plans for the world's first octopus farm.
CIWF coordinated a joint letter, signed by NGOs including Eurogroup for Animals, Greenpeace Spain, and Oceana UK and experts – such as Peter Singer and Jennifer Jacquet to the Canary Islands government urging them to reject a planning application from Nueva Pescanova. This application seeks permission to build an octopus farm in the Port of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.
The letter explains that allowing the farm to go ahead would cause animal cruelty and environmental damage and may negatively impact the islands’ communities and tourism.
The case against octopus farming
In 2021, CIWF launched our report, Octopus Farming: A Recipe for Disaster, which showed that octopuses' exceptional characteristics make them uniquely unsuitable for farming. Octopuses are solitary creatures by nature, often living and hunting on their own. Confining them to tanks can lead to aggression and even cannibalism.
In March 2023, we published a second report with Eurogroup for Animals - Uncovering the Horrific Reality of Octopus Farming - which reviewed the plans for the proposed farm where the company plans to rear approximately one million octopuses every year, producing 3,000 tonnes of octopus meat. The plans confirmed our concerns, revealing inhumane practices such as the use of ice slurry for slaughter, a method scientifically recognized for its cruelty.
Overwhelming global opposition
Over the last three years, international opposition to octopus farming has soared with numerous NGOs, animal welfare experts, environmentalists, conservationists, and politicians expressing their outrage at plans to confine these unique animals in underwater farms.
Washington State proposed a bill banning octopus farming last year, and the UK has legally recognized cephalopods as sentient beings. Hawaiian authorities have closed the Kanaloa octopus farm and, in Canada, a governmental petition was proposed to ban octopus farming.
Elena Lara, CIWF Fish Research Manager and author of both reports, said: “This World Octopus Day, we should be celebrating these unique, fascinating, and intelligent wild animals rather than planning ways to exploit them for profit by confining them in underwater factory farms. It’s time to end factory farming – not expand it. They belong in our oceans, not in farms. They are sentient creatures that feel pain, suffering, and distress, just like other animals. Not only would farming them be cruel and unnecessary, but it would also be unsustainable and damaging to our oceans. They would need to be fed wild-caught fish in captivity – a practice that would contribute to overfishing and food insecurities in already vulnerable communities around the world. We strongly urge the Canary Islands authorities to do the right thing and reject these cruel and environmentally damaging plans to farm octopuses once and for all. And to reiterate this message, supporters all over the world will be making their own views known by taking part in a coordinated social media action this World Octopus Day aimed at the Canary Islands government.”
Please support our campaign by sending your own message to the Canary Islands government on World Octopus Day (October 8th) by following the hashtag #StopOctopusFarming and tagging them @PresiCan on X/Twitter, @gobcanarias on Instagram, or PRES.Gobcan on Facebook