etaGiovanni DeGarimore, the owner of Giovanni’s Fish Market in Morro Bay, California, doesn’t offer octopus to his customers anymore. In fact, last week he went so far as to buy a live octopus from a supplier just so he could release it back into the wild.
DeGarimore used to sell octopus, much like he still sells crabs, shrimp, and fish. But with recent research detailing how intelligent the species is, DeGarimore has decided to stop selling them, even if it hurts his bottom line.
“It’s just been a culmination of events through the last 10 years,” he explains.
While he was scuba diving in Fiji not too long ago, DeGarimore even spent about 15 minutes playing hide and seek with an octopus. After that encounter, he couldn’t stand the thought of chopping up and selling such “a beautiful animal.”
So, when he got a call last week informing that a fisherman had accidentally caught a 70-pound octopus in a crab trap, DeGarimore had no intention of turning him into dinner for one of his customers. He also didn’t want anyone else to the do the same thing.
DeGarimore ended up paying a couple hundred bucks for the octopus and putting him in a tank at Giovanni’s Fish Market. At one point, the octopus was given the name Fred, and a picture of him posted on the Giovanni’s Fish Market Facebook page received a great deal of attention.
“Gio has taken a moral position to no longer support the sales of ANY Octopus products,” read the post. “While it might seem strange, we think it’s actually pretty cool.”
After a couple days at the fish market, DeGarimore released Fred back into the ocean in what he believes is a safe spot far from sea lions that may view him as dinner. He actually credits his cousin, Robin Walker, for the idea, explaining that a few years ago, she bought an octopus from a sushi restaurant so she could send him back to the wild.
DeGarimore understands spending money on Fred just to set him free isn’t good business. But he’s more than fine with that.
“It’ll hit me in the pocket,” he says, “But I’d rather stand for something.”