Barramundi Fish Farm
Barramundi is becoming popularly known in the U.S., particularly as substitute to white fish meat. It lends itself well to aquaculture because of its fast-growing and hardy nature. It is usually raised outside its natural habitat with the use of recirculating systems.
Are you interested in learning more about the basics of barramundi farming? Read our guide.
Barramundi is native to tropical north Australia waters and has just been introduced into the U.S. market. That is why it cannot be easily found in local markets. It can be found fresh or frozen in whole and fillet forms. Barramundi is characterized by its sweet-tasting flesh. It is used as substitute for some white fish, particularly the sea bass. Those sold in markets, averages one to two pounds in weight. They are normally available all-year round.
In Australia, it is farmed in a variety of system such as ponds and open net pens or cages. In the U.S., it is usually raised in large tanks, isolated pools, or recirculating systems. As such, barramundi farming has little problem about fish escaping into the ocean and carrying diseases to wild stocks or of polluting other water bodies. A famous barramundi farm in the U.S. is found in Massachusetts.
What Makes Barramundi Ideal for Farming
Barramundi are found ideal for farming because of their fast-growing and hardy nature. They spawn in saltwater, but they can be grown in varied environments – may it be fresh, salt or brackish water. They can also be stocked at higher densities. And while they are carnivores -- feeding on smaller fishes, and some shellfish -- they also feed on high-protein grain diets. Growth rates vary, but usually, commercial-sized one-pounder barramundi can be produced in six months.
Because they are farmed in the U.S. in closed systems and because of their low dependence on fish-based diet, they are considered more environmentally friendly fish to grow, particularly in comparison with salmon, which depend largely on fishmeal for their diet. In addition, in the U.S., they are raised naturally. That is, without the aid of hormones or antibiotics.
Farming Barramundi in Closed Environment
Barramundi farms usually use recirculating systems to raise the fish. They construct fully enclosed, insulated buildings for better control of farming conditions like temperature. The buildings house growout tanks. The tanks are equipped with biological and mechanical filters to clean the water and aerators to supply additional oxygen needed by the fish. A most important requirement in constructing a recirculating aquaculture facility is the availability of constant supply of power and quality water.
With the use of a recirculating system, a farm can produce fish whole-year round. This is possible through rotational stocking and harvesting wherein fish are stocked in new tanks monthly until they are harvested. In stocking the fish, grading is often necessary to prevent big fish from eating the smaller ones in the lot.
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