Barramundi


Latin name: Lates calcarifer


Common name: Barra

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Farmed

Region:
NT, QLD, NSW, WA, VIC, SA

Key Facts

  • Barramundi is mainly farmed in land-based tanks and ponds, with smaller volumes produced in sea cages in the ocean.
  • The vast majority of barramundi produced in Australia is from farmed production rather than wild capture fisheries.
  • The amount of wild caught fish needed to produce fishmeal and oil for barramundi feed is approximately equal to or less than the amount of farmed fish produced. This means that the farms aren’t taking out more fish from the ocean than they produce.
  • Minimal environmental impacts from both land-based and sea cage production methods.
  • Minimal chance of disease transfer between farmed and wild populations of barramundi.

More information

  • QLD, NSW, VIC, NT, SA, WA (3,722t produced in Australia in 2014-15)

Barramundi are native to Australia, and are caught in wild fisheries and farmed. Farmed production exceeds wild fisheries production by over 2,500t. Farmed barramundi are mainly produced on land in tanks and ponds, with minor volumes produced in the ocean in sea cages in Western Australia.

As an omnivorous species, barramundi are dependent on the fishmeal and fish oil in feed sourced from wild caught fish. However, they can be farmed on a diet relatively low in fishmeal and oil, and feed manufacturers continue to produce feeds with lower quantities of wild caught fish. Farmed barramundi has a better ‘wild fish in to farmed fish out’ ratio than farmed carnivorous finfish species such as Rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon. The amount of wild caught fish needed to produce fishmeal and oil for barramundi feed is approximately equal to or less than the amount of farmed fish produced. This means that the farms aren’t taking out more fish from the ocean than they produce.

Farming barramundi also has a relatively low impact on the natural environment. Waste from land-based farms is adequately managed by the jurisdiction in which the farm is sited, and sea cage production in WA is situated in an area of high water movement, meaning waste is removed and adequately dispersed by water currents. In addition, wastewater from barramundi farms along the Qld coast is adequately treated and does not present a threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Careful planning of sea cages location and wastewater treatment is essential to ensure minimal environmental impacts.

Disease transfer from farmed to wild populations is not an issue in land-based production and minimal in sea cage operations.