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BP Gulf Oil Spill Reinvigorates Moroccan Octopus Trade

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"Last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may have been an unprecedented environmental disaster, but across the Atlantic, it turned into a boon," writes Sylvia Smith of the BBC.

The Moroccan town of Dahkla has seen its economic fortunes rise with a shrinking global octopus catch primarily "down due to fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico catching less" and "the more voracious of the world's octopus eaters turn to this seaside resort for their stocks."

Apparently, the BP spill "killed millions of octopuses (sic)," and now, according to Smith, Spain and Japan "have set up companies in partnership with Moroccans to export the delicacy," as "the slimy, cephalopod, which has part of its brain in its tentacles, is an acquired taste not widely eaten in Morocco."

"Spain buys 80% of our quota because the Mexican spill has killed off that source of octopus," Hossein Ben Moussa, director of exporter Friocondal, says. "But our second biggest client is Japan. Morocco needs foreign currency, so this creature is really helping put Dahkla back on its feet."

Of course, there are always two side to every trade -- what is good for Dahkla naturally puts the squeeze on buyers.

"We are more than happy with the quality, but production needs to increase dramatically to keep prices down," says Galician octopus dealer Manolo Fernandez. "Last year, prices were 50% lower."

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