Lifestyle & Human Interest

Fish Market Owner Purchases 70-Pound Octopus From Fisherman Just So He Can Set it Free


Giovanni DeGarimore, the owner of Giovanni’s Market in Morro Bay, California, has built his life around fish. The Market is a place where customers can come to either buy fresh, raw seafood to cook at home or enjoy a deliciously cooked meal at the restaurant.

When one of his employees called to tell him that a fisherman was selling a 70-pound octopus, Giovanni knew he needed to buy it.

But he had no intention of selling it.

For the past ten years, his convictions about octopuses have changed. Research mixed with some of his own personal interactions with the mollusks have shown him that they have a higher level of intelligence than previously believed.

Jennifer Mather, a comparative psychologist at the University of Lethbridge, has been studying octopuses for 35 years. She said, “Octopuses play, and play is something that intelligent animals do.”

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Giovanni encountered an octopus in Fiji while scuba diving, and he said the two played hide and seek at the bottom of the ocean.

After a while, he began to build a personal conviction about these animals and decided to stop selling them at his market. “It’ll hit me in the pocket, but I’d rather stand for something,” he said.

So when his dock manager called about the 70-pound octopus, Giovanni wanted to buy it so he could set it free.

He couldn’t stand by and let the “beautiful creature” be killed. He was inspired by his cousin, Robin Walker, who bought an octopus back in 2010 from a sushi restaurant so she could release it back into the ocean.

That octopus was only about 35-pounds and videos of the release were posted on Facebook.

The octopus, later named “Fred” by an employee, lived at Giovanni’s Market until a release plan could be made.

A picture was posted on the company’s Facebook page with a promise of future updates to come.

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“As you may or may not know, Gio has taken a moral position to no longer support the sales of ANY Octopus products. While it might seem strange, we think it’s actually pretty cool,” the caption read.

They wanted to make sure that they found a place that Fred could be released and not have to fight off sea lions or get caught in another crab trap.

On May 17, 2018, Fred made his voyage back to his original home.

In defense of his decision to not sell octopus related products, Giovanni said, “It might not change the world, but I’m going to do one thing and if it only makes me and Fred happy that’s ok too.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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