Saturday, 8 June 2019

Hurrah For Science!

About 350,000 tonnes are caught every year and served in restaurants from Spain to Chile and from Mexico to Australia. But many octopus fisheries are reported to be in decline, and fish farmers have turned to rearing of octopuses to try to replace these dwindling catches. Wild-caught males and females would be allowed to mate, and their fertile eggs would be grown in containers into adults to be sold to markets round the globe.
These efforts have foundered, however, because 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 also proved tricky.
Oh, dear, This looks insurmountable.
These drawbacks have prevented octopus farms from making progress – until recently. Aquaculturists have learned that the young of some octopus species are less fussy about the food they eat and have used these species as basic stock for breeding. There have also been advances in controlling the environments in which octopuses will be raised.
As a result, several companies have said they will soon be ready to sell farmed octopuses. The Japanese seafood company Nissui is one has reported hatching octopus eggs in captivity and has predicted it will be selling market-ready octopuses next year.
Hurrah! The appliance of science is wonderful, isn't it?

But wait. There's always a fly in the ointment somewhere:
...the case for octopus farming is weak, according to Jacquet and her co-authors. The main markets for the animals – the US, Europe, Japan and China – are areas where people are already well-fed.
Octopuses are delicacies and do not deserve to be the focus of intensive farming.
What the hell has 'deserving' got to do with it?

Man's ingenuity has - once again - provided the opportunity for a once-scarce resource to go from a delicacy to an affordable food. Just as it did with salmon and oysters. Who could object?
At present, these farms are still at the development stage, said Peter Godfrey-Smith of Sydney University, a contributor to the paper.
“That means campaigners and activists don’t have products or outlets to target. But when universities and research institutions consider supporting these projects – and that is beginning to happen now – it will make sense to object. Why should research money be used to support a project that will inevitably have so many welfare and environmental problems once it is scaled up?”
Ah. Of course. Progressives. Which, these days, is defined as 'people who want mankind to never, ever progress.


Stonyground said...

Campaigners and activists, people with empty heads and too much time on their hands. Also, the plural of octopus is octopi.

JuliaM said...

Imagine if they put as much time into worthwhile endeavours...