Sustainability is Hungry Work at the Kanaloa Octopus Farm
A great sustainability mission with the opportunity for visitors to play with and feed the color changing octopuses, The Kanaloa Octopus Farm is a wonderful way to spend an hour before/after getting on a flight at Kona.
Hot Take: Kanaloa Octopus Farm tour was well worth the $25 each if you are an adventurous spirit with the desire to support a good cause (4 stars)
Pro Tip: Booking in advance is a must as the group size is limited so that everyone gets a chance to interact with and feed the octopuses.
We love taking ourselves out of our comfort zone as well as supporting good causes…but the Kanaloa Octopus Farm tour let us do both as the same time, so we have much love for Jake Conroy, the founder/owner and will even answer questions during the tour.
The farm was founded to address a serious problem…there is no known way to raise octopus in captivity (aka farm them). This might no sound like a problem to many, but the rise in the popularity of octopus as a food source (side note: they are delicious when prepared correctly) has led to the overfishing of many octopus populations. This has set up an environmental (and culinary) crisis which requires scientific research to solve.
Enter Conroy who had the idea to start a company to research techniques for farming octopus. Supported by the State of Hawaii (and maybe more), Conroy founded the Kanaloa Octopus Farm. Research takes time and money, so the Farm has two daily tours where a limited number of visitors can see the operation and interact with the octopuses. While the operation is still fairly modest by aquarium standards (it is just a number of tanks under an open-air roof), the feature of having an octopus climb all over you is quite a thrill!
It is not just all fun and games for the staff as they carry out their important work. We wish Conroy and the team at the Kanaloa Octopus Farm the best of luck with their quest to bring sustainably farmed octopus to the market so that natural populations can recover. Our $75 (we bought Kelly a tank top) might not go far, but we were honored to play a small part in their success.