The European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has expressed concern about a proposal for a first-ever octopus “farm,” in response to Lady Freethinker’s petition that has since been signed by more than 40,200 people.
We thank everyone who has raised their voices on behalf of octopus, who are intelligent and sentient creatures who likely would suffer horrifically and with little protection at this planned farm, proposed by company Nueva Pescanova.
Christos Economou, the acting director of the European Commission’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Directorate, told Lady Freethinker in response to our petition that “The Commission agrees that farming carnivorous animals such as octopuses may possibly risk adding pressure on the environment, in particular on wild fish stocks.”
Economou continued by saying that the Commission’s guidelines for 2021 to 2030 recommend diversifying EU aquaculture with projects that will have better environmental impacts and that don’t require animal feed, such as farming algae.
The guidelines also emphasize the need to ensure sustainable feed systems, using ingredients sourced in the way that is “most respectful of ecosystems and biodiversity,” he wrote.
The Commission’s current direction to the European Food Safety Authority to provide new scientific opinions related to animal welfare by 2023 does not include marine invertebrates, like octopus. But Economou added that a roadmap, to cover 2023 to 2030, will cover additional species, including some invertebrates.
Meanwhile, details have surfaced that Nueva Pescanova plans to implement the commercial octopus farm in a 52,000 square meter space in La Esfinge Dam, where it will breed and raise common octopus whose larvae reportedly will be fed with algae and whose adults will be fed with “feed and crab,” according to The News 24.
That outlet also reported that the company acquired the captive breeding patent in mid-2019 from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography and is waiting on permits from the Canadian Government (including the General Directorate of Fisheries and the General Directorate of Transition Ecology and Fight Against Climate Change) and is going through the environmental impact validation process and that, should the company’s filings and plans comply, the farm then will be implemented.
Lady Freethinker’s petition has now been published to the European Commission’s website. We also have sent our petition to the Canadian government in protest and will keep watching this situation.
If you haven’t already, please sign our petition to save these incredible animals from this new form of industrialized cruelty.