In spite of fierce resistance from scientists, the world’s first farm for octopus is expected to open next year in Spain.

Concerns that the animals could feel pain and emotion, say conservationists who are asking for an end to the project.

Some 350,000 tonnes of octopus are caught each year – more than 10 times the number in 1950 – with the animal particularly popular as a delicacy across Asia and the Mediterranean.

Companies around the world have been trying for decades to find out how to raise the Octopus in Captivity. Because its larvae eat only live foods, they need to be kept under strict control.

Spanish multinational Nueva Pescanova announced today that it would start selling farmed octopus in the summer of 2019. This will be available for sale by 2023.

Controversy: The world's first octopus farm is set to open in Spain next year despite fierce opposition from the scientific community (stock image)

Controversy. The first-ever octopus farm in the world will be opening next year in Spain, despite opposition from many scientists (stock image).


Biologists still debate the learning ability of Octopuses, but they are thought to have a high intelligence level that is higher than most other types invertebrates.

They have broken out of aquariums to find food. Some have boarded fishing vessels and opened the holds to get crabs from inside.

This is the only known invertebrate to have been observed to use tools. Some species of them, such as the one pictured right above, are able to retrieve discarded coconut shells from their homes and then reassemble them for shelter.

Through laboratory experimentation, they are able to quickly learn how to differentiate between patterns and shapes. Many controversial studies have shown that they can even practice observational learning.

Octopuses may be considered experimental in some countries. They are not allowed to have surgery without anaesthesia. British animal testing laws consider them to be ‘honorary vertebrates’. This gives them the protections afforded other invertebrates.

According to reports, the farm would produce approximately 3,000 tonnes per year. 

However, Nueva Pescanova has refused to reveal What conditions will the octopuses be kept in? This includes the dimensions of tanks and what food they’ll eat.

Numerous scientists expressed their dismay at this news by saying that octopuses should not be commercially raised for food.  

According to the London School of Economics and Political Science’s study, experts concluded that it was impossible for high-welfare octopus farmers to be successful and that the government should consider banning imports of farmed octopus in the future. 

The research looked at more than 300 scientific studies and concluded that octopuses were ‘sentient beings’ that could experience pain, distress and harm as well as excitement and pleasure.

According to campaigners, there’s no scientifically supported method of their humane killing.

An international research group called for the Nueva Pescanova program to be scrapped as it’s ‘ethically & ecologically unjustified.  

Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) has written to the governments of a number of countries – including Spain – urging them to ban octopus farming.

Dr Elena Lara was the research manager for CIWF. 

“They are very intelligent and solitary. It’s not right to place them in a barren tank without any cognitive stimulation.

She said that anyone who has seen My Octopus Teacher (an Oscar-winning film) would be able to appreciate it.

After diving in the South African kelp forest, a documentary about a filmmaker forms an unlikely friendship with an Octopus.

Octopuses have a reputation for complex behaviors, such as unlocking aquariums and instantly camouflaging. 

Through laboratory experimentation, they are able to quickly be taught how to differentiate between various shapes and patterns.

Some 350,000 tonnes of octopus are caught each year – more than 10 times the number in 1950 – with the animal particularly particular as a delicacy across Asia and the Mediterranean

Some 350,000 tonnes of octopus are caught each year – more than 10 times the number in 1950 – with the animal particularly particular as a delicacy across Asia and the Mediterranean

They have also been shown in a variety of controversial studies to be able to observe and learn.

Even seashells and coconuts have been used by them to protect themselves.

Scientists fear that if more than one Octopus is in the tank, they might try to eat other Octopuses. 

The Spanish octopus farm may be granted permission. However, European law would not protect the creatures that are bred in Spain.

That’s because EU law covering farm animal welfare is only applied to vertebrates, or creatures that have backbones.

Nueva Pescanova states on its website that it is “firmly committed to aquaculture.” [farming seafood]As a way to decrease fishing pressure and provide sustainable, safe and healthy resources that complement fishing.

Despite this, evolutionary biologist Dr Jakob Vinther, from the University of Bristol, said octopuses were ‘extremely complex beings’.

He said, “I believe that humans must respect this if they want to grow them or eat their flesh.”


Camouflaging in their natural environment is one of the best ways for octopuses to avoid predators.

They have special pigment cells allow them to control the colour of their skin, much like chameleons.

They can also alter the colour of the skin to match the environment. 

They can also escape predators using camouflage. Jet propulsion is a method of escape where water is rapidly sprayed out to propel them quickly through the water.  

The siphon’s water jet is frequently accompanied with a release ink that confuses and avoids potential enemies.

Tentacles on eight-legged beasts have sucker like power and they are used to drag prey into a sharp blade.

Protecting against other animals is not enough. Recently, it was discovered that Octopuses are able to detect ultrasonic waves which can be used to predict a volcano eruption or earthquake and give them sufficient time for escape.