At Ocean Wise, we are in the business of helping chefs gain access to sustainable seafood alternatives to replace the common unsustainable options that can be found on menus across Canada. As a seafood resource for the seafood industry, we are constantly on the look out for different sustainable options to help celebrate sustainable seafood and the variety that is available across our great nation. One such option is Barramundi.
Barramundi is a type of seabass that is native to Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. The name Barramundi comes from the aboriginal word for “large-scaled silver fish.” This species is an excellent candidate for sustainable aquaculture which is why we are so excited to talk about it with chefs, fishmongers and seafood suppliers!
Barramundi are a fast growing fish that produce a large amount of eggs, around 30-40 million per spawning event. It is these traits that make barramundi an excellent candidate for aquaculture and ensure that fish can be produced quickly and sustainably. Did you know that the Food and Agricultural Organization stated that peak wild fish harvesting occurred back in 2014? This means that over 50% of the seafood being produced globally is coming from a farm. Because of this reality, it is important to encourage the industry to farm using sustainable methods AND to farm species that can meet the increasing global demand for protein in a way that has the least impact to the surrounding environment.
When the Ocean Wise Seafood program explores sustainable aquaculture, there are quite a few factors that we need to consider to determine if something could be Ocean Wise recommended as a sustainable seafood option. We look at things like: what goes into the feed, where does the brood stock (fish eggs) come from and does that affect wild populations, are chemicals being used at this farm and if so, how many and why? Additionally we want to consider the management of the farm and important factors such as access to information from these farms.
Australis Aquaculture is a long time Ocean Wise partner and leading producer for ocean-raised Barramundi. The journey to realize Australis began 30 years ago when founder and CEO Josh Goldman created a solar powered RAS system in his dorm-room at college. He later founded one of the first commercial aquaponics farms to introduce tilapia to the North American market. He was continuously on a mission to find the “right fish” which could help improve human health and reduce impacts on seafood production. He chose Barramundi as the species to farm for those very reasons.
Here are a few more reasons why Australis Barramundi are a sustainable seafood option:
Barramundi eat low on the food chain and consume a primarily vegetarian diet! This means you do not need to take fish out of the ocean to farm raise this fish reducing the overall impact that this species has on other species.
Proper farm management ensures that the ocean pens are not overstocked which drastically reduces any risk of disease on farms.
The region where they are being farmed includes sandy and muddy bottoms so no mangroves are being negatively impacted.
Although conversations regarding farmed seafood can be complex, and not all farmed seafood is Ocean Wise recommended, it is important to acknowledge that if we want to feed 9 billion people and more, we need to support sustainable aquaculture and businesses that are investing in doing it the right way. Trailblazers like Aquastralis Aquaculture have demonstrated that sustainable aquaculture is achievable and if we all altered our eating habits and consumed species low impact species like Barramundi, we can all do our part to reduce our footprint on ocean resources.
Curious to learn more? Here are some resources we encourage you to check out!