Qual­ity bar­ra­mundi

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FISH FARM­ING -

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.

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