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Frequently asked questions

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About Barramundi

What is barramundi?

Barramundi (Lates calcarifer) is a type of sea bass native to the Indo-Pacific. They are a diadromous fish which means they spawn in salt water and can then occupy freshwater, brackish or marine waters. They are highly valued as a commercially and recreationally fished species and are considered particularly well suited for aquaculture.

Where is barramundi from?

Their natural habitat spans from Northern Australia throughout Southeast Asia, and as far west as the coastal waters of India and Sri Lanka. Farmed barramundi generally come from countries within its native habitat; including Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia. Land-based barramundi farms also exist in several countries, such as our Turners Falls, Massachusetts facility.

What does barramundi taste like?

Barramundi is a mild tasting white fish. Ocean-farmed Australis Barramundi has a clean, buttery flavor with a succulent and meaty texture. It offers a silky mouthfeel and a delicate skin that crisps perfectly when seared.

It’s a perfect choice for non-fish lovers or newbies, who don’t care for strong-tasting fish, We often hear from happy parents that picky kids like this fish! Simply put: It’s awesome.

Is barramundi sustainable?

It all depends. Sustainable ocean farming, as practiced by Australis Aquaculture, creates a wholesome and socially-responsible food source while alleviating pressure on our oceans’ wild fish supply. Every aspect of production and transportation are thoughtfully designed to reduce resource consumption and carbon emissions and protect sensitive marine habitats.

Australis Barramundi are fed a predominantly plant-based protein diet with a modest amount of sustainably-sourced fishmeal and fish oil. This helps us achieve a low fish-in fish-out ratio of 1:1 (comparably lower than other predatory fish species such as salmon, tuna, and cod), so the company is not taking more fish from the environment than it produces. Learn more about why this is so important on our sustainability page.

Is barramundi a seabass?

Yes, barramundi is a type of seabass. Its common scientific name is ‘Asian Seabass’ but it is marketed as barramundi in the U.S. and Australia.

How do you pronounce “barramundi”?

Bar-ra-MUN-dee. We think it’s fun to say.

Australis Barramundi

What is unique about Australis Barramundi?

Australis Barramundi has been heralded as “the perfect fish for a changing world,” because it offers an exceptional culinary, nutritional, and sustainability profile  unmatched by any other fish.

Australis Aquaculture is an American company headquartered in Turners Falls, Massachusetts with operations in Massachusetts and central Vietnam. By delivering on the promise of next-generation ocean farming, and producing a nutrient-packed farmed fish, Australis aims to ensure a more secure and sustainable food future for all.

The company is led by CEO and co-founder Josh Goldman, a sustainable seafood visionary who has spent the last 30 years developing some of the biggest ideas in aquaculture. Learn more about our award-winning approach to sustainable seafood production.

How do you pronounce “Australis”?

Aws-STRAY-lis. It means “of the south” in Latin.

What certifications and sustainability recognitions does Australis Barramundi have?

  • Best Choice by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program (First-ever ocean-farmed finfish to earn this rating)
  • Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) Certified
  • Whole Foods Market Certified
  • BSCI Social Welfare Audit Member
  • GFSI Global Food Safety Initiative

Learn more about these certifications and awards on our Sustainability Partners page.

What are the ingredients in your All-Natural Barramundi product?

Just barramundi! We don’t treat or adulterate of our fish in any way.

What are the ingredients in your Lemon Herb Butter coated product?

Australis Barramundi, Canola Oil, Salt, Modified Food Starch, Dehydrated Vegetables (Garlic, Parsley, Onion, Chive), Dextrose, Nonfat Dry Milk, Natural Butter Flavor, Citric Acid, Cellulose Gel, Spices, Lemon Juice Powder, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Lemon Peel, Cream Powder, Natural Flavor, Garlic Oil, and Turmeric.

Is Australis Barramundi certified organic?

Certified organic standards for barramundi do not currently exist for the North American market. Some fish are produced under non-US organic standards, but there is not a broadly accepted definition of what organic means when applied to fish.

Is Australis Barramundi genetically modified?

No. We rely on conventional breeding to improve our stock.

Does barramundi contain mercury?

Australis Barramundi has consistently tested below detectable limits for mercury (average of 0.02 ppm). The levels allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is 1 ppm.

Wild-caught and farm-raised barramundi may contain different mercury levels due to their very different diets. Methylmercury is primarily a concern in large predatory fish that consume other fish, so large wild-caught barramundi have a higher risk of containing  mercury than our farmed barramundi.

Learn more about how we manage and test for methylmercury.

Does barramundi contain PCBs?

Australis Barramundi has consistently demonstrated very low PCB levels (average of 0.001 ppm), which equates to 0.5% of the levels allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2 ppm). Australis Barramundi are fed to ensure very low levels of contaminant exposure and we routinely conduct high-sensitivity testing for PCB’s, dioxins, and dioxin-like compounds.

Are there bones in Australis Barramundi?

Nope! We work hard to remove all of the bones for you so that you can cook, eat, and enjoy without hassle.

Can I eat the skin?

Yes! Barramundi’s skin is delicate, buttery, and crisps up beautifully. To get great results, pat the skin very dry, dust it with a little rice or white flour and pan sear with butter or oil using moderately high heat. Cook skin side down first and be patient by not turning it too soon. See how it’s done in our How To Perfectly Pan Sear Fish video.

Product Nutrition

What is the nutritional value of Australis Barramundi?

Our skinless and skin-on nutritional fact labels can be found below. We recommend a serving size between 4 to 6 ounces.

    

What is the Omega-3 content of Australis Barramundi?

Australis Barramundi boasts one of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids of any white fish. On average, a 6 oz (170g) serving of Australis Barramundi has 950 mg of combined EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, and that value roughly doubles if you eat the skin!

Australis Barramundi also boast an optimal 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to 3 that enables better absorption of omega-3’s.

What other health benefits do Australis Barramundi have?

Australis Barramundi is also an excellent source of lean protein (34g per 6 oz serving) with only half the calories of farmed salmon.

Our barramundi are clean and fully traceable with non-detectable levels of mercury, PCBs, and other contaminants. They are also raised without antibiotics, added hormones, or chemicals.

Is Australis Barramundi kosher?

Skin-on Australis Barramundi is certified kosher. Our skinless fillets, while also produced in accordance with kosher standards, but are not currently certified as kosher due to the inspection requirements of certifying organizations.

Is Australis Barramundi Halal?

Yes. Australis barramundi is Halal certified.

Is barramundi gluten-free?

Yes.

Can you eat Australis Barramundi raw?

Yes! It is great as sashimi, crudo or in ceviche. Our lawyers require us to say that consuming raw fish may increase your risk for foodborne illness.

Does your fish have preservatives?

No. Our fillets never contain any added preservatives.

Does frozen fish have fewer nutrients?

No! Frozen fish is just as nutritious as never frozen, according to the Natural Fisheries Institute. For fish that is properly frozen immediately after harvest, like our barramundi, the nutritional value and flavor are extremely well preserved. In blind taste tests, trained panelists have actually preferred well handled frozen immediately fish over fresh. Learn more about why you should consider frozen fish.

Why is Australis Barramundi available only in a frozen format?

We have chosen to focus on supplying flash-frozen barramundi for three reasons:

#1 To provide customers with the highest quality.
By flash freezing immediately after harvest, we essentially ‘stop time’ and preserve the just harvested condition of our fish until you’re ready to enjoy them.  With proper thawing, even trained professionals find it nearly impossible to taste any difference. Professional chefs are increasingly encouraging more use of frozen seafood.

#2 To offer convenience at an affordable price.
Unless you live on the coast, it can be challenging to buy locally caught fish. Our barramundi provides year-round access to one of the most delicious, healthy and sustainable options available at a lower cost than many fresh fish.

#3 To minimize our carbon footprint and food waste.
Frozen can be a lot more eco-friendly than fresh. By concentrating on frozen, we can farm one of the world’s most sustainable fish within its natural habitat and then get them to you as efficiently as possible. Most fish consumed in the US are transported long distances. Airfreight is both expensive and energy-intensive. Australis Barramundi is shipped by sea, resulting in approximately 90 percent less CO2 emissions than fish which is transported by air. We also know that food waste has become a huge problem—particularly for seafood. It’s estimated 30% of fresh seafood is wasted before use. By purchasing frozen Australis Barramundi, you use what you need when you need it, with practically zero waste.

Does frozen fish expire?

Nothing lasts forever. We recommend that our frozen barramundi be used within two years from the harvest date. The best buy date on each pack makes this easy.

Cooking

I’m a fish newbie. How easy is it to cook barramundi?

Barramundi is foolproof in the kitchen. Its optimal oil content helps to minimize the risk of overcooking, yet it never smells fishy. It retains moisture and is a versatile canvas for professional chefs and home cooks alike.

Master basic fish cooking techniques with our How-To videos.

Need more inspiration? Check out the Australis Kitchen for great recipes.

What types of fish can barramundi substitute for?

Barramundi can be used in any white fish recipe. It can be a great swap for less sustainable or more expensive species like Chilean sea bass, halibut, grouper, snapper, mahi-mahi, and cod.

What’s are the best ways to prepare barramundi?

Barramundi is well suited to grilling, searing, roasting, frying, poaching, smoking, or as sashimi, ceviche, and crudo. Barramundi lends itself to a myriad of international cuisines and styles and can be used in fish sandwiches, fish tacos, fish and chips, pasta dishes, and chowders.

Check out the Australis Kitchen for recipes and inspiration.

What’s the best way to thaw frozen fish?

For best results, you may opt to slow thaw it in your refrigerator overnight. To do this properly, make sure to remove the fish from the vacuum-packaging first and rinse off the protective ice coating. Place on a paper-towel lined plate or tray and allow 12-24 hours to thaw. Use the fish within 1-2 days of thawing.

If you are strapped for time, you can also submerge the vacuum-sealed packaging under cold tap water for 15-20 minutes. Remove the fish from the packaging once it’s thawed. Rinse, pat dry, and use the fish immediately.

Watch this video to see our quick and easy method for thawing frozen fish!

How long does thawed fish last?

It’s best to cook quick-thawed fish right away. If you slowly thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator, it can last for a day or two.

Find out how to store fish for a longer shelf life.

Our Practices

Where is Australis Barramundi farmed?

Australis Barramundi are raised in the ocean, six miles offshore in the pristine waters of Van Phong Bay in Central Vietnam. As the largest sea lease holder in Vietnam, we strategically place and rotationally fallow our farms to ensure high water quality with minimal environmental impact.

Why is barramundi so well suited for responsible aquaculture?

Barramundi are “Flexitarians”: Barramundi can thrive on a predominantly grain-based diet which results in have a low Fish In: Fish Out ratio (FIFO), which indicates the amount of fish oil and fish meal needed to produce a pound of fish, is under 1:1. That means means we produce more edible fish than we use as feed.

Barramundi are hardy: They are naturally calm and gregarious. They prefer to school and adapted to varying environmental conditions—which allows us to raise them without antibiotics and chemicals.

Barramundi are fast growing: Barramundi are prolific spawners and grow quickly, which helps to ensure that the speed of production can meet the pace of demand.

What do you feed Australis Barramundi?

Our Juvenile barramundi dine on zooplankton that we culture on the farm. As they mature they graduate to our custom-formulated feed which is designed to optimize fish health, nutrition, while minimizing environmental impact.

To achieve these goals, we’ve utilized modest amounts of many different ingredients, including: plant-based (corn and low antigen soy) protein concentrates, sustainably sourced fish meal and fish oil, vegetable oils, micro-algae, seaweed, yeast, and herbs (oregano, cinnamon) to boost immunity and promote gut health.

We are continually refining our feed to reduce reliance on fish meal and fish oil without compromising the level of omega-3 fatty acids in our fish.

What is Australis Barramundi’s Fish-in Fish-out (FIFO) Ratio?

Australis Barramundi have a fish-in fish-out ratio—the amount of fish oil and fish meal required to produce one pound of farmed fish—of just under 1:1, which is significantly lower than wild fish (roughly 10:1) and mot other farm-raised fish.

What is Climate-Smart Ocean Farming?

Climate-Smart Ocean Farming is Australis’ leading-edge approach to sustainable, ocean-based food production. We aim to optimize resource use and reduce our environmental impact of our barramundi farm and to support a better food system overall.

To complement our efforts in sustainable fish production, we are also working on a one-of-a-kind seaweed integration project that is specifically designed to combat ocean acidification and reduce methane emissions from ruminant animal production. To learn more, visit GreenerGrazing.org.

How long does it take for Australis Barramundi to reach the harvest size?

It takes between 12 to 18 months for our fish to reach harvest.

How do you ensure the well-being of your fish?

Australis is committed to ensuring its practices meet or exceed all relevant guidelines and standards and for animal welfare pertaining to farm raised fish. The premise of our approach is to ensure our fish have the opportunity to live in a manner which supports optimal health and well-being. This is accomplish by ensuring that the farming environment, water quality, culture densities and handling methods minimize stress and promote social interactions and well-being.

Australis’ hatchery and farm are Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certified. BAP’s standards cover key elements of responsible aquaculture, including, social responsibility, food safety, animal health and welfare, and traceability.

Our handling and harvesting methods conform to the Humane Slaughter Associates 2014 guidance document on humane harvesting of fish.

The aforementioned standards generally comply with the Business Benchmark of Farm Animal Welfare’s Farm Animal Welfare Standards.

Do you sell barramundi fingerlings?

Sorry, we do not.

Do you offer public tours of your Massachusetts or Vietnam farms?

That’s great that you’re interested in learning more about our farms! Currently, we are not set up to offer public tours of our Turners Falls or Vietnam facilities. If you haven’t seen the PBS Food Forward special about our Massachusetts farm yet, it might help give you a sense of what goes on. This video will also take you through how our Vietnam farm works.

Availability

Where can I buy Australis Barramundi in the U.S.?

Australis Barramundi is available at a variety of retailers across the U.S. Use our Store Locator to find the retailer nearest you. You can also purchase Australis Barramundi online through Thrive Market and Blue Apron.

Where can I buy Australis Barramundi outside of the U.S.?

Our retail presence around the world is limited, but our products are available under the Clean Harvest brand in Australia and China. Australis Barramundi can also be found in Singapore. We are always looking to expand distribution.

Where can I find fresh, never-frozen Australis Barramundi?

All of our retail and the majority of our foodservice products are flash frozen. For the best barramundi experience, we recommend purchasing our frozen product and letting it thaw overnight in your fridge. Learn more about why you should consider frozen fish.

Can I purchase Australis Barramundi online?

You can! We supply our barramundi to Thrive Market’s Wild & Sustainable Seafood Protein Box.

Where can I buy Australis Barramundi that’s raised in Massachusetts?

Our Massachusetts farm sells almost exclusively to live seafood markets in the US. Look for our product in Asian restaurants and grocery stores that sell live fish.

 

Got another question?

You can either send us a question via the Contact form in the footer or give us a call at (413) 863-2040.