A Japanese aquaculture company recently announced it has succeeded in hatching eggs of fully farmed octopus in western Japan. The seafood company confirmed the hatching of about 140,000 eggs produced by octopus conceived by artificial incubation and is hoping to ship fully farmed octopus to retailers and restaurants across Japan as early as 2020.

There has never been full-cycle aquaculture technology for octopus as they have a low survival rate of about 30 days after being hatched. Also, octopus larvae eat only live food which has made feeding them difficult and expensive. Keeping young animals in water whose salinity and temperature are carefully controlled has proved challenging.

At about the same time a 2019 study claims that octupus farming is a bad idea. The study calls the plans for the octopus farms are ‘ethically unjustifiable’. They claim that octopuses are ‘highly intelligent’ and have been known to use tools and even navigate simple mazes and protect the entrance to their dens. The mass production of octupus on aquatic farms could be fatal for the species and will put yet more pressure on the ocean’s livestock. Octopuses require huge quantities of fish which will further threaten marine livestock.

However, in many areas octupus is considered a culinary delicacy.  More than 350,000 tonnes of the seafood are caught and served in restaurants every year and octupus is a common food in Mediterranean, Japanese and a variety of asian dishes.

There are around 300 recognized species of octupus. Learn more about them here.