Posts Tagged ‘safe fish farming’

A Great Breakthrough in Aquaculture, Eat Barramundi not Salmon

Thursday, October 14th, 2010



A few decades ago when aqua-culturists began sifting through fish to raise, species were chosen on the basis of their value in the marketplace and not on the amount of fish or fish meal they would have to be fed before they reached maturity, or the mess and pollution the process would cause to the surrounding waters,  or their general environmental unfriendliness.

Enter the Barramundi, from Southeast Asia and Northern Australia, a delicious, firm white-fleshed fish similar to grouper, snapper, or striped bass. Barramundi are born in the sea and migrate to fresh waters as adults, the absolute reverse of a salmon’s life cycle, and they have the rare ability to transform vegetarian feed into healthy omega-3 at about the same rate as a coho salmon. In terms of pure common sense, why would anyone choose to farm Atlantic salmon, a carnivorous predator that needs to eat many times its own weight in smaller fish? 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 including fresh, salt or brackish water. Because they can be farmed in closed, land-locked systems and due of their low dependence on fish-based diet, they are considered a more environmentally friendly fish to grow, particularly in comparison with salmon, which depend largely on fish meal for their diet. In addition, at least in the U.S., they are raised naturally. That is, without the aid of hormones or antibiotics.

Joshua Goldman, the CEO of Australis Aquaculture is attempting to undo sustainable fish farming gone wrong. After raising tilapia and striped bass in the 1990s, he searched for the optimum fish to farm and with Australian entrepreneur Stewart Graham they chose the barramundi. Australis operates the largest recirculating aquaculture operation in the world near an airport in Turners Falls, a village in western Massachusetts’s Pioneer Valley. They clean the water in a treatment plant and send it back to the fish and every gallon used is recycled 300 times. Solid waste is separated out and goes to local farms as fertilizer. This is a far better solution than the “net pens” used today that not only pollute the sea, but spread diseases and parasites to passing wild fish.

The bottom-line message: Eat barramundi NOT salmon and help save the seas!