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Hook, Line, and Sinker: You’Ll Fall for Australis Barramundi

October 7, 2008

There’s a new fish swimming to the top of the list for fish lovers — barramundi. No, not barracuda. Barramundi. Baa-ra-moon-di. Get used to pronouncing it, because it’s quickly becoming America’s new favorite white fish.

Popularized in the U.S. by Massachusetts-based sustainable aquaculture pioneer, Australis Aquaculture, this sweet and mild fish is a cook’s dream and is now widely available in supermarkets and restaurants across the country.

Barramundi has a delicate flavor and succulent texture that is not too bland or too strong. Chefs and home cooks appreciate its versatility, and it can be baked, broiled, sauteed, or grilled in minutes. It’s mild enough to shine in a simple preparation yet robust enough to pair with everything from artichokes to yuzu. Praised by chefs and foodies for its “melt-in-your-mouth” flavor, and by chefs like Barton Seaver for its sustainable profile, Australis Barramundi has graced the menus of the country’s top restaurants, including The French Laundry. The Boston Globe christened it “The Next Big Fish” and Food Arts magazine called it a “Big Scale Breakthrough.” Why? Because Australis Barramundi has a lot more going for it than simply taste.

This fish passes health benchmarks swimmingly. Omega-3 levels in fresh, U.S.-farmed barramundi are comparable to wild Coho salmon (836 mg per 5oz serving) while frozen barramundi offers a good source (370 mg per 5 oz. serving). Australis Barramundi also provides a more favorable balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 levels than most other farmed fish. The company never adds hormones, antibiotics, or other additives, and the fish are independently tested to ensure that mercury, PCBs and other contaminants are undetectable.

According to a recent Worldwatch report, Farming Fish for the Future, aquaculture currently accounts for 42% of the world’s seafood supply and that percentage is growing rapidly. As global demand for seafood rises and our ocean’s fish stocks become depleted, the world must increasingly turn to aquaculture.

Australis farms fish the right way. Their fresh, U.S.-farmed barramundi is produced in a closed system that recycles 99% of the water and eliminates any chance of escape, water pollution, or predator interaction. U.S. farmed barramundi is also ranked a “Best Choice” for sustainability by the leading environmental organizations Monterey Bay Aquarium, Environmental Defense, and Seafood Choices Alliance. Australis frozen barramundi is raised by small, family-owned farms or line caught from small boats in the ocean waters of their natural habitat. And 100% of the product is tested to ensure safety and purity.

Unlike other carnivorous fish such as salmon and cod, barramundi can thrive on a largely vegetarian diet because of its rare ability to synthesize omega-3 fatty acids from plants. Farmed salmon can require up to 5 pounds of small fish (as feed) to produce each pound of product, resulting in a net loss of protein — not a good practice for a planet with declining fisheries. Australis’ proprietary farming systems and specialized feeds leverage barramundi’s unique biological abilities and result in a net gain of fish protein, thus producing a healthy product with a small environmental footprint.

Australis founder Josh Goldman is a scientist and pioneer who studied sustainable aquaculture in college. After 20 years of raising species from around the world, he discovered that this popular Australian fish had the potential to be farmed sustainably — a huge selling point given the realities of declining fisheries and wide-spread anxiety about food safety.

Says Goldman, “Fish farming is extremely complex, and some fish shouldn’t be farmed at all. Instead, we need to identify which fish are best suited to being farmed in a sustainable way. By combining barramundi’s characteristics with our sustainable approach, I believe we’ve found the ‘trifecta’ of responsible aquaculture; balancing the needs of the ocean’s eco-system with a safe fish that’s great to eat.”

So how can you get your hands on this fish? Australis Barramundi is available in Safeway stores (also Von’s, Genuardis’, and Dominick’s), Costco Club Warehouses, Whole Foods Markets, and on Red Lobster’s fresh fish menu in select markets across the U.S. For other availability, go to http://www.thebetterfish.com/where-to-find.

Australis Aquaculture, Ltd. (ASX: AAQ) is an award-winning provider of healthy, sustainable seafood, marketed under the banner of The Better Fish(R), Better Tasting, Better For You, Better For Our Environment. The Company spearheaded the introduction of barramundi as a growing culinary trend in North America, offering a line of fresh and frozen barramundi to the retail and foodservice markets. Australis is a recognized leader in sustainable aquaculture through its pioneering practices in recirculating technology, and is expanding the supply of its sustainable line via production and sourcing operations in Southeast Asia. For sales locations, recipes and information go to: www.TheBetterFish.com.

Note: Only U.S.-farmed barramundi is rated a ‘best choice’ on consumer seafood guides. Australis is working with environmental organizations regarding the sustainable practices of its frozen products. The company is also playing a role in dialogues between the aquaculture industry, major buyers and environmental NGO’s in an effort to develop performance standards to help reshape the industry.

 Contact: Vanessa Barrington Straus Communications 415-777-1170 x 313 415-505-0116 Vanessa@Strauscom.Com

SOURCE: Australis Aquaculture, Ltd.




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