At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s


The common octopus can be identified by its bulbous head, large eyes and eight tentacles.

Often called the smartest cephalopod (squid family), the octopus can blend in with its surroundings, releasing ink to confuse attackers, and can even lose an arm to evade predators. It can grow up to four-and-a-half feet long and weigh close to 22 pounds.

Commercial Sources

Common octopuses are found in North Africa, Vietnam and Spain. (Octopus from these sources is processed in Japan for the U.S. sushi market.)

Capture Methods

Octopuses come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with lures, hooks and lines, pots, spears and bottom trawls.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Octopus Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 3
Eco details: 
  • Populations of the common octopus in many areas have been overexploited and mismanaged.
  • All octopus destined for the U.S. sushi market is processed in Japan and labeled "Product of Japan," so identifying the origin of octopus sushi is nearly impossible.
  • Some inshore octopus fisheries are sustainable and have a moderate impact on the environment, but most octopus fisheries, especially those offshore, exploit already low stocks, harm habitat and have high bycatch.
  • Populations in Mauritania and Vietnam are in poor shape.
  • Spain appears to have the most stable octopus populations.