Summary


Octopus vulgaris has recently aroused much interest in aquaculture, considered suitable for large-scale production given its commercial value, its fecundity, rapid growth, high protein content, and high feed efficiency rate. The main problem, however, is the high mortality rate observed during paralarval rearing, making successful juvenile settlement still very difficult to achieve. Unfortunately, despite the high knowledge on the biology and ethology of this species, there are many other aspects to be solved from a welfare perspective. For instance, the current farming systems result in high stress in O. vulgaris due to spatial constraint, high densities and sociability, which consequently increase aggression (cannibalism and autophagy) at different life stages. In addition, octopus skin is particularly sensitive and can be easily damaged during handling, transportation or stressful confinement conditions. A humane slaughtering protocol is not yet established, since the nature and degree of any suffering during current practices are unknown. O. vulgaris appears capable of experiencing pain and suffering, exhibits cognitive complexity and sophisticated behavioural patterns which can be interpreted and serve as indicator of the welfare status.