Giant Pacific Octopus

by seachoice on October 12th, 2011

Giant Pacific Octopus

Giant Pacific octopus caught in Alaska with pots is a “Best Choice.” Though little is known about the giant Pacific octopus population in Alaska, it’s caught as bycatch in the well-managed Pacific cod fishery. Giant Pacific octopus caught in British Columbia with pots is ranked “Some Concerns.” In British Columbia, giant Pacific octopus is bycatch of the Dungeness crab and spot prawn trap fisheries. There are concerns about bycatch of other species in these fisheries.

4 Responses to “Giant Pacific Octopus”

  1. April 09, 2013 at 12:45 pm, Alfredo Quarto said:

    If the BC Spot Prawns are available frozen year round, how many tons of this trap caught prawn are there? I am interested to ascertain how viable the wild prawn fishery is to supplying restaurants and retailers with more sustainably produced prawns or shrimp, as this would be of great interest to certain chefs or retail outlets seeking such alternatives to imported prawns.

    Mangrove Actin Project is promoting our Question Your Shrimp Campaign urging the public to only purchase N. American caught or raised shrimp to avoid the pitfalls of imported shrimp from tropical nations. Please see a letter I just sent in regards to promoting closed aquaculture systems:

    Dear Friends,

    For several years, MAP has pointed out the potential of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) as a better way forward for aquaculture systems. Since aquaculture has actually been around for a thousand years, it is not likely to just disappear as a means of raising marine or fresh water fish, clams, shrimp, crabs and seaweed. Yet we all know and have been struggling against the terrible consequences of what is termed “open, throughput systems” of aquaculture, which in all too many cases lead to environmental and social ills. Both the salmon and shrimp aquaculture industries are representative of some of the worst problems resulting from this “open system” style of aquaculture production, and MAP is committed to opposing these deleterious open production systems.

    One important benefit of the “closed system” approach, which is what the RAS involve is that these RAS systems can be located next door to the markets that sell the product, within the countries where the demand exists. This engenders the “eat local, buy local” philosophy that the Slow Food movement promotes, and makes great sense in limiting the international transport costs in terms of fuel and pollution, which contribute to global warming. These RAS systems can feed people, while not causing food insecurity in the process, as happens from “open system” production such as floating salmon pens or excavated shrimp ponds.

    Other benefits of these closed systems are mentioned in the article below, but there are still two important points that need to be made to ensure that these are truly “closed systems” that are being promoted, and not still ruinous “open systems.” We need to ensure that those promoters of RAS, such as Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seafood Choices, are promoting the following aspects as vital to what closed systems must include before being given this “green” label of their endorsement:

    1) FEED- These systems must not rely on wild capture fisheries to feed their farmed species. There needs to be sustainable production of feed for the raised species that does not cause harm to our wild fisheries, as is the case for the fish feed industry today. This “for-farm-feed” production could be from algae, seaweed, mollusks and fish grown within the RAS facility itself, or grown for that facility from a nearby feed production source. Also, plants such as vegetables and grains could supply needed feed nutrients, but must come from organic, non-GMO sources of production.

    2) SITING- The RAS facilities must be sited on non-contested lands that are not usurping the land tenure or resource rights of the affected communities living in the area of the RAS facility. Also, the RAS is not damaging surrounding natural resources, such as wetlands or productive farmlands. These restrictions can be realized because one of the major advantages of the RAS is that it can be located just about anywhere, including in deserts or on building rooftops.

    3) A SUPPLEMENT, NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR WILD FISHERIES- Aquaculture must be a supplement, not a replacement for our wild fisheries. And, in the process, aquaculture should not damage or destroy wild fisheries habitat or the natural environment that supports wild marine and fresh water fisheries. In other words, no clearing of mangroves, no destruction of coastal wetlands, no wreckage or blockage of fresh waterways, no dumping of pollutants, etc.

    It is important that we continue opposing “open system” means of fish, mollusk, or shrimp production, as these can be detrimental to life on our planet. Meanwhile, if there is a better way, then let’s take that path. RAS within the limits I have outlined above may be that better way forward. It is, however, still in its early phases of development that needs our careful scrutiny.

    Here is the article that inspired my above musings:

    Seafood News Aquaculture

    Closed-containment farms get ‘best choice’ rating

    By SeafoodSource staff
    08 April, 2013 – SeaChoice and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program have released six new seafood recommendations, paying particular attention to closed-containment aquaculture.

    Five of the six strongest recommendations, bearing the “green” label, include species farmed in recirculating systems in Canada and the United States — white sturgeon, Nile tilapia, gilthead sea bream, European sea bass, and yellow perch. The sixth recommendation, listed as “yellow,” is Atlantic halibut farmed in recirculating systems in Canada.

    “These systems separate production from the natural environment, which minimizes the risk of escapes and disease transfer to wild fish,” said Bill Wareham, SeaChoice representative from the David Suzuki Foundation. “Water is purified to remove potential pathogens, eliminating or greatly reducing the need for antibiotics and chemicals, and then recirculated to reduce discharge. Effluent from the systems can also be treated before being released to mitigate negative impacts, and in many systems, waste products can be used as fertilizers.”

    SeaChoice partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey Bay, Calif. to produce the list of recommendations.

    “We are pleased to see the aquaculture industry implementing environmentally responsible practices,” said Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, director of the aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program. “Such innovation is critical to ensuring ocean health, especially as more of our seafood supply comes from farmed sources.”

    Alfredo Quarto,
    Executive Director
    Mangrove Action Project (MAP)
    PO Box 1854
    Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279 USA
    tel. (360) 452-5866


    • April 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm, lana said:

      Thank you for your comment Alfredo,

      Please contact the BC Spot Prawn Association for more details, but according to their website it looks like each year in BC 2450 metric tonnes are harvested:

      It is important to note that there are other sustainable shrimp/prawn options globally.

      Many thanks!


  2. May 02, 2013 at 9:32 pm, Marquita said:

    I constantly spent my half an hour to read this blog’s posts all the time along with a cup of coffee.


  3. May 14, 2013 at 1:56 am, From fisher to chef: BC spot prawns are delivered to YEW | Marionate Overnight said:

    […] it was coined “Ingredient of The Year” by Vancouver Magazine in 2008 and is touted as a “Best Choice” seafood by SeaChoice and OceanWise. Not to mention, that it has been told countless times how delicious […]


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