An English summary of this report is below. The original report, published in Serbian in Vreme, follows.
A town in Mauritania lives by catching octopuses. A town in the north of Spain processes its tentacles. It all often ends up on Japanese tables. A lucrative job could come with the head of an octopus, an animal so clever that it dreams like a man.
On Thursday, the weekly Vreme published a major worldwide study on the journey of octopuses from the ocean to the plate and the consequences of our appetite.
What connects the port city of Nouadhibou in Mauritania, the town of Carballino in Spain, and the metropolis of Osaka in Japan?
Answer: the long tentacles of an octopus. This smart cephalopod is hunted en masse in Nouadhibou, processed in Carballino, and is a cult street food in Osaka.
Four reporters spent months investigating the octopus trade, a billion-dollar business. Their article was exclusively published in the Thursday, November 9, issue of Vreme.
"It all started in Mauritania when a Japanese man came in the 1970s to teach them how to hunt octopus," says Tristen Taylor, a South African journalist and one of the authors of the article.
Only in the '70s did the nomads in Mauritania discover how to make a living from fishing. Today, the whole of Nouadhibou lives exclusively from it, but the business has its dark sides.
"Is this kind of fishing the only way to overcome poverty in Africa? By killing an intelligent species just so that people in the developed world can overeat the octopus?" Taylor told Vreme.
As a nonprofit journalism organization, we depend on your support to fund more than 170 reporting projects every year on critical global and local issues. Donate any amount today to become a Pulitzer Center Champion and receive exclusive benefits!
The story, found on page 42 of the following PDF, was published by Vreme, in its November 9, 2023, issue.