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Species Information

Barramundi

Lates calcarifer

Other Names
Barra, giant perch, giant sea perch, silver barramundi.

Family
Latidae (lates perches).

Description, Location, Habitat and Harvesting Information
Available both wild-caught and farmed, it is caught using gillnets in coastal and fresh waters in Australia’s tropical north, from the Ashburton River in WA to the Noosa River in Queensland. It lives in rivers, creeks, estuaries and coastal shallows, however all move into estuaries and coastal shallows to breed. NT and Qld are important barramundi farming areas, though there are also farms in WA and SA. Farms located further south than barramundi naturally occur use warm saline bore water to simulate the fish’s natural habitat and most farms use salt, rather than fresh, water. Barramundi is an Aboriginal word meaning 'river fish with large scales'.

Season
Wild-caught barramundi is available from February to October, peaking from February to April. Farmed barramundi is available year round.

Size and Weight
Barramundi mature as males after about 3 years, measuring up to 60cm in length, then change into females after about 5 years. They can reach up to 1.5m and 50kg, although most wild-caught fish weigh less than 6kg. Some farmed fish are sold at 400-600g (plate-sized), though many farms produce larger fish (around 3kg).

Price
Medium-high price. Farmed plate-sized fish are less expensive than the larger wild-caught fish.

Relations
Sand Bass (Psammoperca waigiensis).

To Buy
Wild-caught barramundi is usually sold in fillets or cutlets. In fillets and cutlets, look for lustrous, firm, moist white-pinkish flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh smell. Farmed baby Barramundi is mostly sold whole, look for firm flesh, which springs back when touched and a pleasant fresh smell.

To Store
Make sure whole fish is scaled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap whole fish, fillets and cutlets in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets or cutlets for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.

To Cook
Yield is 45-50%. Barramundi flesh has medium-large flakes, mild flavour, low-medium oiliness depending on the season, moist flesh and soft-medium texture (smaller fish having softer flesh and smaller flakes). Larger fish have only a few large bones, which can easily be removed. Cut large fillets into serving size portions. The centre bone of cutlets can be removed and a filling placed in the cavity. Baby barramundi is best served whole (scaled, gutted and cleaned) as it is an ideal plate-sized fish. The fine skin can be left on during cooking. It is good barbecued or baked wrapped in paperbark or banana leaves to protect the delicate flesh.

Cooking Methods
Steam, deep-fry, pan-fry, bake, grill, barbecue.

Goes Well With
Asian greens, chilli, fresh herbs, lemon, lime, soy sauce, white wine.

Alternatives
Blue-eye trevalla, lings, gemfish, mulloway, threadfin.

Imports
Nile perch is the marketing name of a closely related fish imported from Africa. In fillet form, the two species are virtually indistinguishable, but Nile perch cannot legally be sold as barramundi. Product (mainly fillets) is also imported from India, South East Asia and Papua New Guinea.

Recipes
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Further information

Can't find the information you're after?  Email  fishline@sydneyfishmarket.com.au with your questions.

Species Groups
Learn about the following species groups (including their most common members, as well as purchasing, storage and cooking information), or select a specific species from the species list below.
Species List
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Albacore
Thunnus alalunga

Atlantic Salmon
Salmo salar

Australian Bass
Macquaria novemaculeata

Australian Salmon
Arripus trutta (Eastern Australian Salmon)
Arripus truttaceaus (Western Australian Salmon)

Australian Sardine
Sardinops neopilchardus

Bailer Shell
Livonia mamilla (False Bailer Shell)
Melo species (Melon Shell)
Other members of the Zidoninae subfamily (Bailer Shell)

Balmain Bug
Ibacus peronii (Eastern Balmain Bug)

Banana Prawn
Fenneropenaeus indicus (Redleg Banana Prawn)
Fenneropenaeus merguiensis (White Banana Prawn)

Barramundi
Lates calcarifer

Bay Prawn
Metapenaeus bennettae (Greentail Prawn)
Metapenaeus insolitus (Greasyback Prawn)

Bigeye Trevally
Caranx sexfasciatus

Bigeye Tuna
Thunnus obesus

Black Bream
Acanthopagrus butcheri

Black Pomfret
Parastromateus niger

Blacklip Abalone
Haliotis rubra

Blue Grenadier
Macruronus novaezelandiae

Blue Mackerel
Scomber australasicus

Blue Mussel
Mytilus galloprovincialis

Blue Swimmer Crab
Portunus pelagicus

Blue Warehou
Seriolella brama

Blue-Eye Trevalla
Hyperoglyphe antarctica (Blue-Eye Trevalla)
Schedophilus labyrinthica (Ocean Blue-Eye)

Bluespotted Flathead
Platycephalus caeruleopunctatus

Bonito
Australian Bonito (Sarda australis)
Oriental Bonito (Sarda orientalis)
Leaping Bonito (Cybiosarda elegans)

Brook Trout (‘Saltwater Charr’)

Salvelinus fontinalis


Chinook Salmon (‘King’ Salmon)

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha


Commercial Scallop
Pecten fumatus

Cuttlefish
Sepia apama (Giant Cuttlefish)
Sepia pharaonis (Pharaoh’s Cuttlefish)

Dart
Trachinotus botla (Common Dart)
Trachinotus baillonii (Smallspotted Dart)
Trachinotus blochii (Snubnose Dart)
Trachinotus coppingeri (Swallowtail Dart)
Trachinotus anak (Giant Oystercracker Dart)

Deepwater Flathead
Neoplatycephalus conatus

Diamondscale Mullet
Liza vaigiensis

Dusky Flathead
Platycephalus fuscus

Eastern Rocklobster
Jasus verreauxi

Eastern Shovelnose Ray
Aptychotrema rostrata

Endeavour Prawn
Metapenaeus endeavouri (Blue Endeavour Prawn)
Metapenaeus ensis (Red Endeavour Prawn)

Frypan Bream
Argyrops spinifer

Giant Trevally
Caranx ignobilis

Goldband Snapper
Pristipomoides multidens (Goldband Snapper)
Pristipomoides typus (Sharptooth Snapper)

Golden Perch
Macquaria ambigua

Golden Trevally
Gnathanodon speciosus

Gould's Squid
Nototodarus gouldi

Greenlip Abalone
Haliotis laevigata

Grey Mackerel
Scomberomorus semifasciatus

Jack Mackerel
Trachurus declivis (Common Jack Mackerel)
Trachurus murphyi (Peruvian Jack Mackerel)

Jackass Morwong
Nemadactylus macropterus

John Dory
Zeus faber

King Dory
Cyttus traversi

King George Whiting
Sillaginodes punctata

King Prawn
Melicertus latisulcatus (Western King Prawn)
Melicertus plebejus (Eastern King Prawn)
Melicertus longistylus (Redspot King Prawn)

King Threadfin
Polydactylus macrochir

Loligo Squid
Loligo formosa
Loligo chinensis

Longtail Tuna
Thunnus tonggol

Marron
Cherax tenuimanus (Margaret River Marron)
Cherax cainii (Smooth Marron)

Mirror Dory
Zenopsis nebulosus

Moreton Bay Bug
Thenus orientalis (Sandbug)
Thenus indicus (Mudbug)

Mud Crab
Scylla serrata (Giant Mud Crab)
Scylla olivacea (Orange Mud Crab)

Murray Cod
Maccullochella peelii

Native Oyster
Ostrea angasi

Northern Calamari
Sepioteuthis lessoniana

Ocean Jacket
Nelusetta ayraudi

Octopus
Octopus aegina (Baby Octopus)
Octopus tetricus (Sydney Octopus)
Octopus australia (Southern Octopus)
Octopus maorum (Maori Octopus)
Octopus pallidus (Pale Octopus)
Octopus graptus (Scribbled Night Octopus)

Pacific Oyster
Crassostrea gigas

Periwinkle
Littorinidae species (‘True’ Periwinkle)
Neritidae species (Nerite) 
Turbo species (Turban Shells)

Pikey Bream
Acanthopagrus berda

Pink Ling
Genypterus blacodes

Pipi
Donax deltoides

Queenfish
Scomberoides tol (Needleskin Queenfish)
Scomberoides tala (Barred Queenfish)
Scomberoides lysan (Lesser Queenfish)
Scomberoides commersonnianus (Giant Queenfish)

Rainbow Trout ('Ocean Trout')

Oncorhynchus mykiss


Red Emperor
Lutjanus sebae

Redclaw
Cherax quadricarinatus

Redfish
Centroberyx affinis

Ribaldo
Mora moro

Rock Ling
Genypterus tigerinus

Royal Red Prawn
Haliporoides sibogae

Samsonfish
Seriola dumerili (Amberjack)
Seriola hippos (Samsonfish)

Sand Whiting
Sillago ciliata

Saucer Scallop
Amusium balloti (Ballot’s Saucer Scallop)
Amusium pleuronectes (Northern Saucer Scallop)

School Mackerel
Scomberomorus queenslandicus

School Prawn
Metapenaeus macleayi (School Prawn)
Metapenaeus dalli (Western School Prawn)

School Whiting
Sillago flindersi (Eastern School Whiting)
Sillago bassensis (Southern School Whiting)
Sillago robusta (Stout Whiting)

Sea Mullet
Mugil cephalus

Silver Dory
Cyttus australis

Silver Perch
Bidyanus bidyanus

Silver Trevally
Pseudocaranx dentex (Silver Trevally)
Pseudocaranx wrighti (Skipjack Trevally)

Silver Warehou
Seriolella punctata

Snapper
Pagrus auratus

Southern Bluefin Tuna
Thunnus maccoyii

Southern Calamari
Sepioteuthis australis

Southern Rocklobster
Jasus edwardsii

Southern Sand Flathead
Platycephalus bassensis

Spanish Mackerel
Scomberomorus commerson

Spanner Crab
Ranina ranina

Spotted Mackerel
Scomberomorus munroi

Striped Marlin
Tetrapturus audax

Surf Clam
Dosinia caerulea

Swordfish
Xiphias gladius

Sydney Rock Oyster
Saccostrea glomerata

Tarwhine
Rhabdosargus sarba

Tiger Flathead
Neoplatycephalus richardsoni (Tiger Flathead)
Neoplatycephalus aurimaculatus (Toothy Flathead)

Tiger Prawn
Penaeus monodon (Black Tiger Prawn)
Marsupenaeus japonicus (Kuruma Prawn)
Penaeus esculentus (Brown Tiger Prawn)
Penaeus semisulcatus (Grooved Tiger Prawn)

Trochus
Trochus niloticus

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