A JULATTEN hills man must be the luck­i­est man alive and the envy of fish­er­men ev­ery­where be­cause he has 80,000 bar­ra­mundi lit­er­ally at his fin­ger­tips.

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

WHILE it’s an un­likely place to farm bar­ra­mundi, some of the na­tion’s finest bar­ras are har­vested at this unique farm.

It’s been a hard slog over the past nine years but the own­ers of Bar­ra­mundi Gar­dens Tim and Gail Thiele have built a busi­ness that is go­ing along swim­mingly.

The farm, which has won awards for its in­no­va­tions, is also striv­ing to find the best out­comes for the fish and the en­vi­ron­ment.

The most re­cent in­no­va­tion at the farm, a bio-fil­ter sys­tem, has taken three years to per­fect and has al­ready im­proved the qual­ity of the fish and the wa­ter, says Mr Thiele.

Nu­tri­ent-rich wa­ter from the barra ponds is pumped into the bio-fil­ter, which is an area of marsh land.

“The bio-fil­ter sys­tem is re­ally the ul­ti­mate re­cy­cling sys­tem for us,” Mr Thiele said.

“The nu­tri­ent-rich wa­ter, which is no good for the fish, is pumped from the ponds and al­lowed to set­tle in the marsh land just be­low the ponds un­til it is ’clean’ again and it is then pumped up into a fresh-wa­ter hold­ing pond above the other 12 ponds and then grav­ity-fed back to the in­di­vid­ual ponds when it is needed.”

There are 12 hold­ing ponds on the farm that can each house up to five tonnes of fish.

The nu­tri­ents ab­sorbed by the bio-fil­ter are used to wa­ter veg­eta­bles, which are also used in the farm’s bar­ra­mundi spring rolls.

“The nu­tri­ents are bril­liant for grow­ing our veg­eta­bles that makes them lovely and fresh and, I’m con­vinced, makes them taste bet­ter too, and of course they go into our fa­mous bar­ra­mundi spring rolls too,” Mr Thiele said.

Mr Thiele says the big­gest barra he’s ever held aloft. “It was 1.3 me­tres . . . that was a big fish.”

Photo by MICHAEL WATT

In­no­va­tion:

Tim and Gail Thiele’s bar­ra­mundi farm in Julatten fea­tures a bio-fil­ter sys­tem that im­proves the qual­ity of fish and wa­ter. IN­SET: Mr Theile at work

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