Fremantle LogoFremantle Octopus is the World’s Best Octopus.  It is a new and different species of octopus to hit the U.S. market called Tetricus Octopus and is indigenous to Western Australia.  This new octopus has been a huge hit in Australia and is now available thru Northeast Seafood.  Tetricus Octopus is trap caught and processed in a small town called Fremantle, Australia.  It is different than any other octopus you have tried.  Most other commercially harvested octopus from Spain, Portugal, Morocco, or Asia are known as a common species called Vulgaris.  Fremantle Octopus is entirely unique.  

The owners Craig and Ross Cammilleri were some of the first to be granted limited entry fishing permits for Western Australian waters in 1995.  Before then, Tetricus octopus was a bi-catch to lobster fishing and often thrown back or used as bait in traps.  The Cammilleri’s noticed the increased demands on Octopus in Japan, and depleting supply of octopus in the Mediterranean, and knew there was an opportunity.  Fremantle Octopus started with a dedication to the highest quality and most sustainable octopus on the planet.  They choose to ensure their octopus quality by managing the entire process within a 25 mile distance.  From the pot caught fishing method on the boat, to the cleaning and pre-tenderized freezing process at the Fremantle facility, the quality process remains consistent for a premium product.      

Octopus fishing technique hasn’t changed since ancient roman times; pot caught fishing.  The pots are made of plastic these days, not clay pots like the Roman empire era, but the technique remains the same: drop a line with a pot attached, put bait in it, let it sit on the bottom for an octopus to crawl in, then pull it up quickly hoping that the octopus is still inside. Craig thought there should be a better way, and in 2004 he invented a new method for the industry.  Pot Ancient Octopus are known to be smart creatures, Houdini’s of the sea, they quickly jump out from pots when it lifts to the surface.  Craig solved this by inventing a trap door as well as an LED lure to invite octopus into the trap.  When they grab the LED light and pull, the trap door shuts.  This invention was implemented in 2006, has increased the efficiency of fishing, and also eliminated by-catch.  Only an octopus tentacle can grab and pull the trigger that drops the trap door, making it a very environmentally friendly method because they catch 100% of their targeting species.   Here is an entertaining video of Craig showing off his new invention on a T.V. show that could only be Australian – https://vimeo.com/30293560

The permitted area of fishing granted to Fremantle Octopus by the Department of Fisheries Government of Western Australia is known to have a very large biomass of octopus.  This is the same country that hosts the Great Barrier Reef, so you can imagine the maze of hiding places and abundance of food available.  The lifespan of an octopus is roughly 18 months and females are known to lay close to 150,000 eggs at a time. 

The Cammilleri brothers have been working with management officials to ensure the sustainability of the fishery.  Demands for this product are thru the roof in Australia and they are anticipating an even larger demand from the U.S. marketplace.  Ross and Craig don’t want to see the Australian fishery become over-harvested.  They are staying one step ahead of the game and are currently working on an octopus farm that could potentially keep the supply of octopus available years beyond its current rate of demand.  If they are successful, it will be the first commercial operation of Octopus.   Here is a video of what that may look like: https://youtu.be/28BxW1uepJE

If you want more details, Western Australia Fisheries Government has posted the full process of Octopus faming here:  http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/Documents/research_reports/frr263.pdf

The current wild fishery of Tetricus Octopus is under assessment by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to receive certification as a healthy and sustainable fisheries under the current management plan.

DSC_0526So enjoy the best octopus in the world with good conscience and an open pallet!  Fremantle Octopus is one of a kind.  The Tetricus octopus is tender and consistent in firmness thru the length of the tentacles.  It also accepts a sear very well, giving the outer crisp and inner softness that octopus connoisseurs are thrilled with.  There are 3 – 5 tentacles per package in a 2.2 pound (1kg) frozen pack.  Supply is currently plentiful, so call or ask your rep for the world’s best Fremantle Octopus!

 

Chad Pettrone
Sustainability Director
Northeast Seafood