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In 2022, Aquatic Life Institute (ALI) led the charge in Banding Together to Ban Octopus Farming. In 2024, we are ecstatic to see these efforts come to fruition in Washington State. 

This landmark achievement underscores our collective commitment to rejecting the introduction of additional animals into the seafood system and positions Washington State as a true pioneer in aquatic animal welfare legislation. In light of this success, ALI is joining forces with various organizations to advocate for similar bans across the United States and utilizing these monumental examples as leverage in continuous European endeavors. 

2022

Aquatic Life Institute (ALI) and members of the Aquatic Animal Alliance (AAA) comment on the Environmental Impact of Nueva Pescanova before the Government of the Canary Islands: General Directorate of Fisheries and the General Directorate for the Fight against Climate Change and the Environment. 

Allowing this industrial octopus farm to operate could result in serious bio security and biophysical risks with regard to effluents being produced from this facility and discharged to surrounding waterways. There were many issues associated with the information provided by Nueva Pescanova as it relates to the environmental impacts of the proposed project, which we addressed in detail.

Through the launch of Aquatic Life Institute's Octopus Farming Ban Campaign, we exposed the dangers of Nueva Pescanova's commercial octopus farm in Gran Canaria, as well as an octopus farm in Yucatan, Mexico, masquerading as a research facility (Hiding in Plain Sight). 

2023

If permitted to operate, just one farm could potentially produce 1 million octopuses each year. In an attempt to dissuade future development of this unsustainable and cruel farming endeavor,  ALI pushed initiatives via our seafood certification campaign and focused on the certified marketability of this potential seafood “product” through the Aquaculture Certification Schemes Animal Welfare Benchmark

ALI expanded on our prior concerns related to impacts on animal welfare, the environment, and public health being priority points of intervention during conversations with seafood certification schemes as a premise for prohibition. As a result, RSPCA published a statement denouncing plans for the world’s first octopus farm and Friend of the Sea provided us with a direct quotation explicitly stating they will not certify this species. If global seafood certifications refuse to create a “price premium” market for this product, perhaps this could serve as an indication to producers and investors that such products will not be welcomed or worth it. These demonstrations of opposition are a testament to our attempts at rejecting a dangerous development before it is an industrial disaster and translates to the prevention of unnecessary suffering for millions of animals.

Through collaborative efforts with members of the Aquatic Animal Alliance (AAA) and the Aquatic Animal Policy focus group (AAP), spearheaded by the Aquatic Life Institute, we actively advocated for HB 1153 in Washington State. Several ALI team members were present during the public hearing for the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to vote on HB 1153 - Prohibiting Octopus Farming and submitted subsequent written testimony in support. Our extensive communications with decision makers contributed to a series of successful milestones, ultimately resulting in its enactment into law.

2024

February proved to be a fast and furious month as we witnessed history being made:

  • February 6, 2024: HB 1153 is pulled and passes the House Floor.
  • February 14, 2024: ALI wrote to all Washington’s Senate Senators of the Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee and the hearing sees widespread support for HB 1153.
  • February 19, 2024: HB 1153 is scheduled for an executive session (vote) and the WA Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources, and Parks Committee passes the bill to the Senate Rules Committee.
  • February 23, 2024: ALI wrote to all Senators of the Senate Rules Committee asking to support HB 1153, which passed the Senate Rules Committee.
  • February 27, 2024: HB 1153 passes the Senate with a solid 29-20 vote.

March 14, 2024

Governor Inslee signs HB 1153 into law!

Washington State's leadership in banning octopus farming serves as a precedent for other U.S. jurisdictions. Hawai’i and California are currently echoing this monumental prohibition with similar bills. Assembly member Steve Bennett introduced AB 3162, the California Oppose Cruelty to Octopuses (OCTO) Act, cosponsored by Animal Legal Defense Fund and Social Compassion in Legislation, while legislators in Hawai'i launched HB 2262. Aquatic Life Institute has already engaged in conversations with various legislators and sponsors to enact similar legislative protections for octopus.

The support for a global ban on octopus farming extends far and wide, with hundreds of organizations, concerned citizens, and scientists advocating for the prohibition of these disastrous farms before they are allowed to operate. ALI expresses gratitude to several NGOs, including Pasado's Safe HavenAnimal Rights InitiativeCompassion in World FarmingMercy for Animals, and others who contributed to making this victory possible. Together, we are forging a path towards a more compassionate and sustainable future. Stay tuned as we hope to announce triumphs for aquatic animals in the near future!

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This is a great success story - well done to all involved!

Woohoo, wonderful news and thanks for your efforts!

Huge congratulations, you have made the world better. Thank you.

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