View Full Version : North Qld Barramundi Farm Leading the Way

Derek Bullock
12-12-2004, 01:48 PM
Media Release


A major aquaculture farm in north Queensland with the capacity to produce a tonne of plate-sized barramundi each week has eliminated wastewater discharge by using the nutrients produced by fish to grow lettuce, tomatoes, capsicums, and chillies.

Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Henry Palaszczuk, who officially opened the Barramundi Blue aquaculture facility at Bemerside near Ingham today, said it boasted one of Australia's largest recirculation-based barramundi-producing facilities.

"This is an exciting new development in sustainable aquaculture for north Queensland," Mr Palaszczuk said.

"It is estimated that the facility will produce up to a tonne of plate-sized barramundi per week, and importantly, produce them with no hazardous discharge."

"Barramundi Blue is leading the way using simple but effective
techniques, local industry products, local labour and on-site

Mr Palaszczuk said he was pleased Barramundi Blue was supported under the State Government's First Start Farm program through QRAA to build a hatchery, training facility, high level water storage, purchase additional grow out tanks and extend the hydroponics vegetable production facility of their barramundi business.

In addition, Barramundi Blue accessed $52,000 in assistance through the Environment Protection Agency's ecoBiz program to help the business achieve its position as one of the largest environmentally sustainable recirculating aquaculture systems in the State.

"Barramundi Blue has eliminated wastewater discharge from the site through an aquaponics system where lettuce, tomatoes, capsicums, and chillies strip the nitrogen and other nutrients from the water," Mr Palaszczuk said.

"This provides another income source and water that is clean enough for reuse in the fish tanks."

"Waste vegetable matter is now fed to the worm farm on site, with surplus worms soon to be fed to the barramundi under a trial program. Energy use has also been reduced and stormwater is captured for later reuse."

"With the potential to improve productivity and minimise environmental impacts, intensive recirculating aquaculture approaches such as this, are in line with the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries long-term vision for aquaculture."

Barramundi Blue is owned by Geoff Orpin and Cynthia Taylor. Ms Taylor was awarded the TAFE 2004 Outstanding Trainee in Aquaculture.

Mr Palaszczuk said the barramundi aquaculture industry in Queensland had enjoyed impressive growth over the last few years.

"Total production increased by 42% from 2001/02 to more than 1000 tonnes in 2002/03. The total value of barramundi increased by nearly 34% to approximately
$9 million," Mr Palaszczuk said.

"With the Department's new focus on profitable primary industries, DPI&F has been working closely with the Queensland aquaculture industries federation and the Australian Barramundi Farmers Association."

Media contact: Kirby Anderson 3239 3004 or 0418 197 350

12-12-2004, 04:12 PM
....has eliminated wastewater discharge by using the nutrients produced by fish to grow lettuce, tomatoes, capsicums, and chillies...

Now to be totally honest all they need to do is is put a big sign over this produce in the market to state the fact that this produce has been grown from nutrient enriched watsewater from a fishfarm #:o

Good advertising #::), no I don't really think so but then if they are fair dinkem then let them call a spade a spade #:-X and if they are not prepared to sticker their produce with this fact then it's a load of bally hoo

;D oh my isn't there an opening for the wording on the sticker :D

Cheers, Kerry.

12-12-2004, 04:38 PM
I dont see any real problem. Fruit & vegies are grown with other animal effluent on it all the time. Many fertilisers are primary animal manure or animal by-product eg dynamic lifter, blood & bone, charlie carp, fish emulsion etc etc etc. The good old horse, cattle, sheep, pig crap is plowed into paddocks used for cultivation.
I think the big picture is that there effluent from the fish farm is being neutralised with a positive offspin to boot.

The concept should be applauded & encouraged.

Derek Bullock
12-12-2004, 06:34 PM
Organic vegies ............. yummmmmmmmmmmmm. ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D


13-12-2004, 01:29 AM
sounds good to me.I wouldn't mind eating vegies from fishfarm wastewater.

13-12-2004, 07:06 AM
Its all good ill have to pop in and have a look at this place next time im drivin bye.
The more barra farms the less pro netters needed

13-12-2004, 06:19 PM
I'll eat the Vegies, but not the fish! :P

14-12-2004, 07:15 AM
A step forward

Regards, Tony

14-01-2008, 10:08 PM
Aquaponics has gained a lot more popularity since this thread was started. Lot's of backyard growers now. I've got 100 barra in a 1000 litre tank in my shed. Not that this stops my desire to get out on the water and catch fish in the wild :-)

15-01-2008, 12:24 AM
That's one Barra for every bucketful of water....They'd only want to be little tackers.


15-01-2008, 07:29 AM
Got them at 25mm. Most are now over 100mm. I'll be able to grow them out to plate size in this tank (500grams plus). It may sound cramped - but it really isn't. The fish tend to hang together anyway so most of the tank has not fish in it most of the time. Also - because the fish grow at different rates and I'll harvest the bolters (fast growers) before some of the others are very big at all, then the tank will never really havee 5kg per 100 litres at all.

15-01-2008, 11:42 AM
My neighbor hs been researching this for some time now here in northern nsw. He has been growing organic veges for ages and is now getting into this type of setup. He is currently geting the taks put in and is researching on what is the best fish that he should be stocking it with. He is looking at freshwater species such as bass and some type of perch?
I think it is a fantastic idea. Cant wait until the tanks are stocked and the fish grow. I can walk next door for a quick flick!
All veges are fertilised with some type of shit so i dont see what the problem Kerry?
At this stage he will not be farming the fish for retail sale, just to use the waste water for the garden.

15-01-2008, 02:03 PM
If anybody wants to have a closer look at Aquaponics, another forum that I am involved with has put out a little free mag. First edition does quite a lot of introductory stuff and is worth a look. Link to download is on the followign page:


JewieNewie - I've been doing aquaponics in a small hobby way for over 18 months and have been eating Jade Perch and Silver Perch from my system. Your friend may end up going for silver perch. Unfortunately, low temps in winter may stop him from growing some of the more tropical/subtropical species in winter.

15-01-2008, 02:21 PM
There is a similar setup to this operating in that southern retirement paradise with the temperate climate that is "Tasmania". Saw a show about it on the box ages ago.

Good system.


15-01-2008, 04:18 PM
In somewhere like Tasmania - you may be able to grow a colder water fish like trout for a lot of the year. Do you know what sort of fish they were growing Chimo?

15-01-2008, 05:47 PM
it's all good by way of using water from the ponds to use on vegies , I applaud the idea but just leaves one important thing , barra farmed in fresh water don't taste as good as saltwater farmed fish .
I use to buy up to 1 ton of barra 3 to 7kg fish every week from a farm on Bathurst Island while running a seafood wholesale bis and found that the salty's were far better than fish from Lake argyle or any of the freshwater farms.
the complaints from the restuarants told us that.

15-01-2008, 07:35 PM
In somewhere like Tasmania - you may be able to grow a colder water fish like trout for a lot of the year. Do you know what sort of fish they were growing Chimo?
prodomintly atlantic salmon

15-01-2008, 08:09 PM
Pickers - yep, I'd heard that. I'm not too concerned because the idea is to have a contiunual ready supply of fresh fish in the backyard. Will probably taste better than some stuff that has been frozen and rethawed in the window.

If the quality is not good, I'll not grow Barra again and will stick to jades and silvers, which is what I have now and have proven to taste delicious.

Blaze - that's interesting. That would be a saltwater AP setup which thought were only being experiemtned with in recent times. I wonder what sort of plants they grew with the salt water. Seaweed is one they are experimenting with now.

15-01-2008, 08:42 PM
Thanks Blaze, I thought salmon but wasn't sure.

The show featured a family setup Dutch ? or frome somewhere European I thought. You didn't see the show or know of the place do you.? I think they doing a whole lot of downstream stuff too


17-01-2008, 04:33 PM
great just another way to hide all those antibiotics, great least less fish kills but what about us.

17-01-2008, 10:15 PM
Sorry - but I have no idea where you got that from. Who said any antibiotics is being used. That seems to have been a big leap.

18-01-2008, 08:29 AM
mate fish farms use antibiotics by the ton do you think you can cram them in that numbers and have no problems , fin rot etc its not the nutrients that cause the most fish kills its the antibiotic residue that kill wild fish as there not use to it. fish farms have made great leap fords in times but still have a way to go yet.

18-01-2008, 11:59 PM
Mate - not talking about normal fish farms. In fact, I'm not really interested in fish farms at all. I'm talking backyard production.

I think the connection between farming of Atlantic Salmon in Tassie and Aquaponics is probably a mistaken one. My understanding is that the atlantic salmon farmed in Tassie are in big cages in the rivers close to the sea - or in bays. Aquaponics is about using the nutrients from the fish waste (nitrate after having been converted from ammonia to nitrite to nitrate by the beneficial bacteria) for plant production, thereby benefiting from a symbiotic relationship. This can't be done in open waters obviously. I concur wholheartedly that the antibiotics used in these sorts of operations is a bad thing - but this is not aquaponics.

Among other things, aquaponics relies on the creation of a microenvironment of bneficial bacteria in the system (to convert the wastes and do things that we are not even sure of, but are clearly beneficial). Heavy use of antibiotics is not going to enable this to be achieved and I know nobody doing Aquaponics that uses antibiotics.