Octopets

Thales

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The voicemail box is full and has been for months. Its really pretty awful, they sent me an email saying they got the eggs I shipped, but never sent payment.
 

DHyslop

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Ouch! Octopets invoices ususally say Carlsbad Aquafarm right on them. Have you called the head of the Aquafarm--I bet you he'd be the guy to get your money from if Jim is MIA.

This all seems so strange. One day things are going great, company is going to start breeding cuttlefish, then he just falls right off the face of the earth.

Dan
 

Mizu

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IF true this is a huge loss for the cephalapod community.
and for me as well having purchased both Megas (my bimac) and Zim (my cuttle) from Octopets I was looking forward to many years of Ceph keeping secure in the knowledge that none were wild harvested. The question I have is.. What now? Is there room for a supply of Cephs? I suggest that some one with ocean access do a feasability study on Ceph raising. Becasue lets face it. We would have all paid 60$ 90$ 100$ 120$ or more for our Octopus. It should not be to hard to come up with a cost that makes a profit. As the only supply of Farm Raised Octos for most of the country you could set the price at what ever you wanted and get it.
 

DHyslop

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Mizu said:
The question I have is.. What now? Is there room for a supply of Cephs? I suggest that some one with ocean access do a feasability study on Ceph raising. Becasue lets face it. We would have all paid 60$ 90$ 100$ 120$ or more for our Octopus. It should not be to hard to come up with a cost that makes a profit. As the only supply of Farm Raised Octos for most of the country you could set the price at what ever you wanted and get it.

I don't think you could ever write a decent business plan to farm cephs for the hobby trade. Starting a business is difficult. I bet it would be more like $200-300 per octo, and at that price you wouldn't sell any. The arrival of Octopets was just shear luck: an employee of an aquaculture business who could use the company's resources.

If we see aquacultured bimacs again in the near future (assuming the Carlsbad Aquafarm does stop producing them), it'll be a basement operation that produces more enjoyment than profit.

Dan
 

monty

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Ok, a few comments:

I know some of you out there have interacted with Jim directly-- do any of you know him well enough that you could speak with him directly and get his side of the story?

Perhaps, since the setup already exists, someone could convince the Aquafarm management to continue the project somehow-- they presumably still have the setup and hopefully, even if Jim is gone, there is enough knowledge around to continue the work.

It sounds like this is an opportunity for motivated people to step up to the plate, and make a stand for bimac aquaculture being something we care about enough to really make it happen, because we think octopus keeping is important, and it's a resource that the cephalopod aquariasts need, and it's an opportunity to make the aquarium animal market more sustainable and environmentally sound, and for all sorts of reasons that I'm sure many of you can think of more than I.

What would that take and what can we do to start movement?

I think it would be a good idea to talk to the Aquafarm people and, if possible, Jim, and find out whether they are completely decided on getting out of the ceph pets business or whether they might continue, or at least help out. It also might be worthwhile to look into other possible funding sources-- perhaps the Packard foundation or some environmental group has some sort of grant program that could be applied to this sort of business-- we could probably argue that it's worth as small "sustainable fisheries research" grant even though it's a bit atypical for that, but sometimes, particularly for small grants, the committees that allocate money like atypical, if for no other reason than it relieves the monotony. Does the NRCC have any interest in supporting the pet trade in cephs somehow?

If using the Octopets facility is out of the question, where else might such an octo/cuttle farm be set up? How far up the west coast do bimacs normally go? If one set something up in Monterey, would that be too cold for them? How about Arcata or Portland or Seattle? Presumably, having a coastal location would be far preferable.

Obviously, I'm just shooting from the hip here, and never having actually kept even a single octopus, I can't really make this happen, but from what I've seen of the folks around TONMO, I think there is a real possibility that there is critical mass for us to make this happen somehow. And do have some experience in encouraging people to take the step from "it would be good if..." to "we are going to make this happen..."

Does this sound like a good direction to anyone else, or do I just sound like a raving madman?

:alarm: is as close as I can find to a "call to arms" or "play charge on the bugle" smilie....
 

DHyslop

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Good, constructive words, Monty.

This probably borders on gossip, but here is my understanding of Octopets and Aquafarm. Much of this is conjecture: Aquafarm is a profitable, environmentally conscious company whose manager has encouraged his employees/partners to use company resources to explore sustainable use: the fruits of this have been Jim's octo-pets and the abalones that I believe are managed by yet another person at the company. For whatever reason Jim has left the company.

It should be noted that the Octopets site is still up, the only thing that has changed is the pages you could order online from have been removed. Perhaps the fact that effort was made to take down part of the site but not all of it should encourage us. Perhaps not.

I think Monty has a great idea that we should get in touch with Aquafarm. Let them know that there is a market for this. Over the last 18 months the price of an Octopet has gone from $25 to $45. We should let them know we think its completely fair to pay $50 or $60 for a CB bimac. Right now I'd beg and plead to pay someone $50 or $60 for a CB bimac. Someone there must have been paying attention to what Jim was doing with the octos!

I believe bimacs live up to the Monterey area but I'm not sure. Certainly not up in Seattle. If I lived in coastal California I already would have bought a few 100 gallon stock tanks to start an operation. As I said before, I believe I'm capable of raising little guys from eggs right now(If I could get some) but I know that keeping more than one long term adult--much less breeding--is out of my league.

Dan
 

Nancy

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Yes, let's not assume the worst just yet.

I have Jim's personal cellphone number and I've tried a number of times over the past few weeks to reach him, with no luck. I left messages, too.

I've always wondered how any money was made on the Octopets project and assumed it was a labor of love. Jim seemed to really like his bimacs - for instance, he told me how some of them liked to be petted. However, I told Jim several times that I thought his prices were too low.

Let's try to find out what's going on. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to make any calls today, but tomorrow and Monday I'll see what I can find out.

You're right -this may be the time for some of us to think of breeding octopuses or at least raising octo hatchlings. More about that later.

As far as the range of bimacs, it's supposed to up the California coast, but not as far as Monterey - and south to Baja.

And a final word - people think that they'll have a bimac longer by buying a young one from Octopets, but in fact our wild caught ones actually lived a bit longer. Don't know why.

Nancy
 

DHyslop

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My above understanding of the Aquafarm is based on a few internet and news articles I found on Google. They seem to be a very environmentally-aware company.

It has to be a pretty emotional time. If you can get through to him I hope he'll be interested in helping us with our efforts. Caring for octos is what he has in common with all of us. Maybe he would enjoy writing an article about the best ways to raise them from eggs, and the best times and places to get eggs.

Dan
 

stradjm

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This is really depressing. I just got my tank cycled and was about to buy my bimac!

Maybe someone here has been successfully raising eggs and would like to sell young bimacs to others in this situation.
 

Nancy

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I notice that Fish Supply (a reliable store) has on its website that they now have wild caught octos, but I haven't been able to talk to anyone yet to get the details.

Nancy
 

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