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.
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.”
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