Commercial octopus farming, currently in developmental stages on multiple continents, would have a negative ripple effect on sustainability and animal welfare.
Commercial octopus farming, currently in developmental stages on multiple continents, would have a negative ripple effect on sustainability and animal welfare, concludes a team of researchers in a newly published analysis.
“We are all living during the rapid domestication of aquatic species and research is almost entirely around the question of which aquatic animals we can farm, rather than which animals we should farm,” says Jennifer Jacquet, an assistant professor in New York University’s Department of Environmental Studies and the lead author of the work, which appears in the journal Issues in Science and Technology. “Universities and companies are investing time and money into farming octopus, which we believe is a big mistake. Mass producing octopus would repeat many of the same mistakes we made on land in terms of high environmental and animal welfare impacts, and be in some ways worse because we have to feed octopus other animals.”
The analysis, which notes that nearly 190 countries currently farm approximately 550 aquatic species, is co-authored with Peter Godfrey-Smith of the University of Sydney, Becca Franks, a visiting assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Environmental Studies, and Walter Sanchez-Suarez, a postdoctoral researcher from Spain working at the University of Sussex.
Spain, along with Mexico, Japan, and China are increasing scientific efforts to build the knowledge to scale-up commercial octopus farming. For instance, Nissui, a seafood company based in Japan, is advancing octopus farming and predicting a fully farmed market-ready octopus by 2020.
Given these developments, the research team sought to explore the potential impact of octopus farms.
Its examination of related, existing scholarship revealed the following:
- Unlike farmed animals, most of which evolved as herbivores, the majority of farmed aquatic animal species are carnivorous—for example, salmon, carp, and catfish. Feeding these animals puts additional pressure on wild fish and invertebrates for fishmeal—around 30 percent of the global fish catch is turned into feed for other animals, and the main consumer is aquaculture, which has been a driving force behind overfishing. Farming octopus, also a carnivore, would only exacerbate current conditions.
- Octopus farming would produce high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution from uneaten feed and feces, which contributes to oxygen depletion.
- Research has shown that octopus have considerable cognitive and behavioral complexity, making farming—in which they are placed in enclosed environments—acutely incompatible with their make-up. As a result, the high mortality rates, increased aggression, and parasitic infection found with existing aquatic farms are likely to be significantly more pronounced with octopus.
Looking beyond the challenges posed by such farms, the researchers question their necessity.
“If society decides we cannot farm octopus, it will mean relatively few people can continue to eat them,” they observe. “However, in the case of octopus, this does not pose problems for food security. The main markets for octopus—Japan, South Korea, northern Mediterranean countries, the U.S., China, and Australia—are food secure.
“Right now, the farming of octopus is constrained by the technology, but the technology may well become available to farm octopus at an industrial scale. If such an opportunity comes, we hope that the serious welfare and environmental problems associated with such projects are recognized, and octopus farming is discouraged or prevented. There are better directions for the future of farming.”
The Latest on: Octopus farming
via Google News
The Latest on: Octopus farming
- Octopus identifies renewable energy targets in Irelandon July 3, 2020 at 6:30 pm
OCTOPUS, a British renewable energy firm with assets in Donegal, is eyeing Ireland and 10 other countries for additional investments.
- Buying a share in a wind farm could reduce your energy billson July 3, 2020 at 9:25 am
As part of Britain’s plans to go carbon neutral by 2050, energy suppliers up and down the country are looking for innovative ways they can provide customers with clean, zero-carbon electricity. One ...
- Octopus primed for 333MW acquisition spreeon July 3, 2020 at 1:26 am
Octopus said that also including projects that it has submitted ... “We are continuing to work closely with our construction partners on the Ljungbyholm wind farm in Sweden and can confirm the project ...
- At the edge of Suffolk farm country, a new cocktail speakeasy with refined steak and seafoodon June 28, 2020 at 2:47 am
The new Tonic speakeasy, a hidden room behind Fin & Tonic restaurant, is a dimly lit lounge where you can find yourself drinking elegant fizzy cocktails while spearing a tender tendril of Spanish ...
- At the edge of farm country, a new cocktail speakeasy with refined steak and seafoodon June 27, 2020 at 7:57 am
For the past 15 years, the dark rooms and hidden doors of the Prohibition cocktail speakeasy have been a cosmopolitan fixture of the American city -- secret societies of house-made bitters and ...
- Would you buy a slice of a wind farm for a reduced electricity bill? Ripple Energy looks to raise £4.3m to build a turbine in Cardiffon June 26, 2020 at 3:02 am
This is a single, one off payment to cover their share of building the wind farm. 2. Choose the tariff: Co-op Energy, powered by Octopus Energy, will supply customers with electricity. They will ...
- Ripple Energy reveals the UK's first consumer-owned wind farmon June 25, 2020 at 1:34 am
Ripple Energy is building Britain's first customer owned wind farm with the aim of signing up 2,000 households in the UK to crowdfund the construction of the turbines.
- The Best Games From Itchi.io’s Bundle for Racial Justice and Equalityon June 12, 2020 at 6:51 am
Octodad is a silly physics game where players take on the role of a slimy Octopus father attempting ... an old woman tending a broken down farm on the edge of the countryside.
- Stealthy Cow May Stand In For Psychic Octopuson June 11, 2020 at 11:38 pm
Yvonne the cow became famous for her escape from a German farm and certain slaughter. For months she eluded her owner and a friendly bull. Yvonne now hopes to replace Paul the Octopus. You might ...
- Quiz Timeon June 7, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Episode 9 - Zozo at the Farm / Boula Makes a Movi ... Max and Sally take on the Pink Octopus and Gaston and help the Ant Sisters go underwater diving. / Max and Sally take on Broccoli and Jo Glagla.
via Bing News