According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), last year’s fishing statistics, show that octopus are one of the six most caught species in the last 20 years and the one that generates the most revenue from the first sale at market in the last five years.

The national fishing fleet last year caught 6,774 tonnes of octopus or 36.2 percent of the total amount of molluscs caught and 5.3 percent of the total volume of fish unloaded at national ports.

In 2018 auctioned sales reached €48 million, 25 percent higher than 2017 and 28 percent higher than the average revenue over the last 20 years according to INE. Almost one third of this revenue was generated by the ports of the Algarve.

Last year 19,400 tonnes of octopus were imported, valued at €172.6 million, more than 3.6 times the value obtained with octopus catches in national ports.

“Insufficient catch of octopus is structural, with an average growth of 4.6 percent in imported quantities between 2013 and 2018, while catches in national ports recorded an average negative variation of 12.1 percent” says the institute.

The main octopus exporting countries to Portugal are Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Mexico and Tanzania.