day, seven days a week to ensure everything is in order.
“We’re always making sure the pumps are working and the water quality is up to standard,” he said.
“We have strict standards so we’re always measuring the water and sending it to labs to be tested.”
He said employing marine biologists and environmental scientists allows them to experiment with ways to work better.
“It’s quite a young industry so we’re always looking for different ways to do things or new ideas to innovate the farm,” he said.
Mr Forrester said the popular fish grows quickly in the farming system.
“Farmed barra is often five times higher in omega3 than those in the wild because of the diet we use on farm, which makes them really healthy for the consumer,” he said.
“We feed them pellets which contain protein sources from poultry, by-products from other fish as well as vegetables and grains.
“But the most important thing about the feed is there are no hormones or antibiotics in it.”
The fish are fed using a ute which drives along the side of each dam.
“On the back of it we have an air blower which throws the pellets into the water evenly so they’re all getting some feed,” he said.
With producing the fish outdoors there is a risk of hungry animals trying to snatch a meal, but Mr Forrester said they have safety measures in place.
“All of our ponds have bird nets on top of them so we don’t have them eating our fish,” he said.
“Our ponds are also elevated and have concrete barriers around them in addition to our staff being
❝Farmed barra is often five times higher in omega3 than those in the wild because of the diet we use on farm...
— Justin Forrester
there 24/7, so we don’t have any animals feasting on our fish.”
He said the fish aren’t at risk of any diseases.
“They’re pretty tough so aren’t going to get anything major because we are free of any exotic pests,” he said.
“The ones that are produced overseas are at risk
because of the pests they have that we don’t.”
Mr Forrester said there is a push from the Australian Barramundi Farmers Association for restaurants to label where the fish is from on their menus.
“Even though it’s an Aussie fish research found 60 per cent of it was imported from
overseas from places such as Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia,” he said.
“Restaurants in the Northern Territory have on their menus if the barra has been imported or not and since they’ve started doing that sales of local fish has more than doubled.”
Despite the water-bound
animals being high maintenance, Mr Forrester said the job is very rewarding.
“It’s good to see them start as tiny eggs and then send them off to market when they’ve grown after you’ve given them that care and attention they need,” he said.
“It’s just nice to be an Aussie farmer.”
NICE INDUSTRY: Coral Coast Barramundi employee Carl Brown-Kenyon holds one of the barra grown on the farm.