Australian barra - Farmed vs Wild: What's the difference?
We are saddened by recent news that our wild caught barramundi industry is struggling. The cost of operating, closures of fishing grounds (moving them further from the market), seasonally fluctuating wild stocks and market pressures are taking their toll. Wild caught barramundi are sitting in freezers waiting for a buyer, and some fishers have declared they may not fish for barramundi in 2019.
Farmed barramundi is currently showing steady growth and we understand that some people would feel that it is simply a wild vs farmed issue. What isn’t as well known is that Australian produced seafood – wild or farmed – is only 30% of all seafood consumed in Australia.
“Over 70% of seafood eaten in Australia is imported, and that percentage is rising.”
(Katherine Winchester, CEO of NT Seafood Council in radio interview with Alan Jones 2GB radio on 24 May 2018)
Wild or farmed, the Australian barramundi industry faces pressure due to the higher costs of doing business in Australia. Australian wages are higher, our safety and environmental standards are higher, as are our fuel/energy costs. These same standards and costs of production are not mirrored by imported barramundi farms, and imported barramundi is significantly cheaper to buy than Australian barramundi.
Buying Australian barramundi supports Australian families on boats or on farms.
- Australian-grown barramundi grows up in clean, unpolluted water – farmed or wild.
- Australian-grown barramundi has a healthy diet free of antibiotics, growth hormones.
- Australian-grown barramundi does not damage the environment is grows in.
Gaps in country of origin labelling laws means imported barramundi does not have to be labelled as imported in some areas of food service. Some businesses are capitalising on this by not disclosing they are using imported barramundi while still charging the same, higher prices as for Australian barramundi. Mandatory Australia-wide Country of Origin Labelling for seafood is the best way to ensure your barramundi is Australian. It is realistic - Country of Origin Labelling has been mandatory in the Northern Territory since 2008.
So 70% of our seafood is imported, yet Australian barramundi fishers are struggling to sell their catch? We think that's #unCoOL
Let’s invert the ratio. Let's get Country of Origin Labelling in seafood mandatory, Australia wide.