Spanish ‘World First’ Octopus Farm to Start Construction Despite Global Protests

By William J. Furney

A multimillion-euro farm designed to breed, raise and slaughter octopuses is going ahead on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria in the face of local and worldwide protests and an outcry from conservationists and scientists.

The controversial project, believed to be the first of its kind in the world and costing a reported €60 million, was drawn up by Spanish seafood conglomerate Nueva Pescanova after it successfully found a way to breed octopuses in captivity, a difficulty other companies have tried and failed to overcome.

The farm will be located in the busy port area of Las Palmas, the island’s capital, and is slated for completion in about a year from now, Nueva Pescanova’s representatives told Furney Times.

“Construction of the plant in the Canary Islands will begin in the coming months and will not be completed until 2023,” representatives at the Llorente & Cuenca Madrid PR firm said in a written reply to questions about the farm.

“The construction of an octopus farming plant in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is another step in the extensive and complex scientific challenge of guaranteeing a sustainable yield of the common octopus, a food in growing worldwide demand for its extraordinary health and nutritional properties,” the statement said.

Protests against the project have taken place in Las Palmas and in cities around the world in the last couple of months, with demonstrators pointing to the “intelligent” nature of the octopus, saying it’s a sentient being capable of feeling pain and would not be content in small glass tanks in a farm setting.

The animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming has branded the development “cruel and environmentally damaging” and has called on the Spanish central goverment to order an end to the project.

  • Title photograph shows a demonstration against the planned octopus farm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, on April 3.

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