The demand for octopuses as food is globally is rising. Prices are climbing, though supply is still low. Producers have started to farm them, which is a big NO, according to scientists. Still, there are already efforts being done, such as genetic modifications, in cephalopod aquaculture.
Farming octopuses would have environmental impacts such as nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from animal waste, interbreeding and the spread of disease, and loss of habitat. The biggest concern is their source of food. Octopuses are carnivores and their primary diet consists of fish protein and oil. They also eat three times their weight, which would pressure fisheries and cause a problem in food security for humans.
Octopuses are also intelligent creatures. Researchers Jennifer Jacquet, Becca Franks, et. al from New York University wrote that octopuses have high cognitive levels, which make them easily bored and frustrated and that this is dangerous to their health. It might result in cannibalism and even the eating of oneself. The scientists said that intensive farm systems would be hostile to octopuses. Their study, ‘The Case Against Octopus Farming,’ was published in the journal Issues in Science and Technology.
Challenges are big in starting octopus farms because it’s hard to grow larvaes into adults, but there are reports that Mexico has had breakthroughs in the last decade, as well as a Japanese seafood company in 2017.
Scientists are hoping that as early as now, octopus farming would be stopped before it goes mainstream. They also said that government, academic institutions, and even some private companies should intervene and stop funding octopus farming and instead focus on more sustainable and environment-friendly food production methods.