The Fish

Barramundi has a national and international reputation as a high quality commercial species, it's a splendid sporting fish with premium eating qualities. 

Belonging to the perch family of fishes, barramundi (Lates calcarifer) prefers slow-moving or still water in rivers, creeks, and estuaries.  However, they are adaptable and can also be found around near-shore islands and reefs. 

The name "barramundi" has an interesting story, click here for more information.

Fishery & Management

Northern Australia's barramundi resource supports a multi-million dollar commercial inshore gillnet fishery across Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. The recreational angling and sport fishing industry centred on the species is also extremely valuable.

Commercial fishermen's activities are governed by seasonal and area fishing-closures, gear restrictions and stringent licensing provisions. A closed fishing season on barramundi operates in each jurisdiction.

Stocks of the fish support important commercial fishing, tourist and aquaculture industries in northern Australia.

Australian Farmed Barramundi Industry

The Australian farmed barramundi industry started in the mid 1980s.  Today it consists of about 100 licensed farmers.  The industry produces around 5,000 tonnes of product.

Barramundi is farmed in all states of Australia except Tasmania. It has an estimated value of production at around $45 million at farm gate.  There is every indication the industry will continue to expand, with growth coming from existing farms and new entrants to the industry.

Australian barramundi is farmed in diverse production systems. The majority of production comes from outdoor fresh or salt water pond operations and sea cages, in North Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The remainder of production comes from recirculation systems using thermal spring water or fresh water.  Recirculation systems are operated mainly in South-East Queensland and southern states. The size of production units varies greatly from boutique operations, usually based on recirculation systems, to large-scale pond or cage systems.

Barramundi was traditionally produced as plate fish for the restaurant trade, but the majority is now being sold as whole fish or fillets, with a new market developing around direct sales to the major suppliers.

For more information please e-mail ABFA on [email protected]

Pictures Courtesy of Good Fortune Bay Fisheries.
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