Billions of Missing Crabs & Octopus Farm Protests - SB19
Welcome to Shark Bite #19.
I hope you’re having a great Sunday so far :)
Unfortunately, we’ve got two bites of bad news for you today.
BILLIONS of crabs are missing from Alaskan waters
Yeah, you read that correctly. Billions.
Alaskan crab populations in the Bering Sea have shrunk from 8 billion to 1 billion over the last 4 years. That number should terrify you.
Scientists attribute the staggering loss to a combination of overfishing, increased predation, and rising water temperatures (Alaskan crabs are cold-water species).
This is a major environmental hit, obviously. But after officials canceled the upcoming crab season (a good move btw), it doesn’t fare well for Alaskan citizens either – the Alaskan crab industry is worth $200 million and supplies 6% of the world’s king, snow, tanner, and Dungeness crabs.
Though a season off should help the crab population bounce back a bit, the issues of increased predation and increased sea temperatures are big problems that a season off won’t fix.
We’ll be following this closely throughout the winter. Hope you weren’t planning on watching Deadliest Catch this year…
Spanish activists in Gran Canaria protest against the world’s first octopus farm
Late in 2021, Grupo Nueva Pescanova announced its plans to invest €50 million in an octopus farm in Gran Canaria. The farm would be set in the Port of Las Palmas and plans to produce 3000 metric tons of octopus each year.
There’s a reason that it would be the first octopus farm in the world. Because it’s a terrible idea.
Octopi are among the most intelligent animals in the world. With more brains than tentacles (one central brain & 8 mini-brains, 1 for each arm), it would be a human atrocity to keep these “Einsteins of the sea” confined in tiny cages before being slaughtered for food.
If you haven’t already, check out “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix. It’s an incredible film that showcases the bond formed between a diver and an octopus he encountered while diving. Backed up by over 300 scientific studies, the film displays just how impressive they truly are. They can:
- Think and feel, just like humans
- Open jars & tie knots
- Navigate mazes and remember solutions
- Play with a pill bottle in the same way children might bounce a ball off a wall
Unfortunately, there isn’t any legislation in the world that protects octopus welfare on farms or during their slaughter. Regardless, PACMA has organized several protests across the island to sway public opinion and drive out the multinational fishing company. Even PETA has spoken out about this issue – sign their petition!
Side note - I’ve been living in Gran Canaria for the past 6 weeks so this one hits closer to home than most. I live about 2 blocks from the Port of Las Palmas and just witnessed the first protest this past Sunday. Hoping for a planet-friendly outcome on this one.
After all of that bad news, it might be hard to have a great week. But you’ve got this, I believe in you :)