Widely prized for its sweet, mild taste and delicate texture, barramundi has been favorably compared to striped bass, red snapper, grouper, and other premium white fish. A relative newcomer to U.S. and European markets, U.S.-farmed barramundi is increasingly being used as a sustainable replacement to overfished species such as Chilean sea bass.
Barramundi is native to Australia’s northern tropical waters, and parts of Southeast Asia. It spawns in salt water and matures in a variety of environments, including fresh, brackish and salt water. Barramundi are hardy and fast growing, which makes them suitable for aquaculture. Barramundi is currently farmed in the U.S. and the United Kingdom in closed recirculating systems, which are considered amongst the most sustainable production systems because they minimize environmental impacts including fish escape, disease transfer and pollution. Farmed barramundi averages one to two pounds and, in the U.S., they are raised without hormones, colorants or antibiotics.
Barramundi is also farmed in other areas of the Indo-Pacific, typically in open net pens or cages, which can pose risks of disease, pollution, and escape. U.S. conservation groups recommend avoiding imported, farmed barramundi. Additionally, wild barramundi is caught off the coast of Indonesia and other parts of the Indo-Pacific. Typically caught in sizes from five to ten pounds, wild barramundi can grow to more then 100 pounds and are often sought by anglers for their strong fight and spectacular leaps from the water.
While barramundi is a carnivorous species, they can be raised successfully on grain-based proteins and oils depending on their feed and environmental quality. Barramundi farmed in the U.S. have a lower percentage of fishmeal and oil in their feed than other farmed carnivorous species, such as salmon, resulting in a favorable feed conversion ratio and reduced reliance on marine resources.
Currently, there is only one commercial U.S. barramundi farm, located in Western Massachusetts. This facility purifies and recycles 99 percent of its water, and has almost no discharge of solids or nutrients leaving the farm.
FRESH (Primarily from U.S.):
FROZEN (Primarily from Indo-Pacific):
© 2006 Seafood Choices Alliance