Octopus Farming Ban (California)

AB 3162

This bill would prohibit octopus farming on land or water and ban the import of farmed octopuses in California.

Updated

February 19, 2024

Work Type

Legislation

Status

Active

​​The Animal Legal Defense Fund​ supports ​this bill.​

​Sponsors:​ Assemblymember Steve Bennett (D-38), Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-44)
​Introduction Date:​ February 16, 2024

California lawmakers are considering legislation to ban the cruel, harmful octopus farming industry in the state. If enacted, the Oppose Cruelty to Octopuses (OCTO) Act, AB 3162, would prohibit octopus aquaculture in California, as well as banning the importation of farmed octopuses into the state.

Octopus farming is inhumane and poses significant environmental and public safety concerns. Octopuses have significant cognitive ability. They can learn new skills, navigate complex mazes, are known escape artists, and even use tools. Because of their complex mental ability, octopuses have high enrichment needs that simply cannot be met in farming environments. Keeping octopuses in this manner subjects them to intense boredom and mental stress. Octopuses are solitary creatures, viewing other octopuses as a threat. On farms, octopuses are cruelly overcrowded into small pools together, causing significant stress, aggression, and high mortality.

Common slaughter practices for octopuses are highly cruel, including freezing and clubbing them to death. Additionally, octopus farming poses a risk of harming surrounding ecosystems and other marine life by spreading pollution and changing water temperatures, and there is a significant risk of farmed octopuses escaping enclosures and impacting local wild populations. Industrial aquaculture farms are breeding grounds for pathogens, and octopuses are hosts for multiple pathogens and zoonotic diseases that can spread to humans, such as cholera. The use of antibiotics, many of which are used to treat humans as well, to combat these pathogens has the potential for the creation of multi-drug-resistant bacteria.

Similar bills have also been introduced in Washington state (H.B. 1153) and Hawaii (H.B. 2262).

​​Why is this law important? ​Octopus farming is a “luxury” industry that is unsustainable, environmentally destructive, and inhumane. Enacting AB 3162 would ensure that octopus farms, and the inherent risks that come with them, do not come to California.

​​Coalition Support: ​Social Compassion in Legislation, Animal Rights Initiative

​​For more information about animal protection legislation​ in California ​and opportunities to take action for animals, visit aldf.org/​california.