Aussie fishers fight to brand barramundi
Aussie fish farmers are fighting for the name barramundi to be reserved only for the aquatic species caught in Australia, banning imported varieties from using the moniker.
The campaign comes as research shows nearly half of Australians don't know if their barramundi is local or imported, with many wrongly believing it's from Down Under.
"Sixty per cent of barramundi is actually imported from Asia - that's not fundamentally a problem when people can make a clear choice but people assume it's Australian (because it has an aboriginal name)," said chief executive of the Australian Barramundi Farmer's Association, Jo-anne Ruscoe.
Ms Ruscoe is encouraging Australians to sign a Change.org petition to secure the naming rights to Australian barramundi, similar to Champagne, with overseas varieties to be labelled as Asian seabass.
"Australians aren't seeing the transparency they deserve and they want," Ms Ruscoe said. 'When so much of the fish is imported there's the risk of substitution and it can damage our farmers' reputation. [The labelling] will clear up confusion around imported fish and it will help consumers and it will help our industry to prosper."
Ms Ruscoe said the title change could add an extra $10 million a year to the Australian barra industry, creating 250 direct and 1000 indirect jobs in regional parts of the country.
Head chef James Brady of Rick Shores restaurant at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast said he was happy to be one of 100 restaurants across the country supporting the initiative as part of National Barramundi Day today.
"It's something we need as much exposure to as possible, trying to source our fish more locally and trying to get more transparency," said Mr Brady, who features a whole barra on his menu.
"It's incredibly versatile as a fish and carries a broad range of flavours and there's so many ways you can cook it."
Originally published as Aussie fishers fight to brand barramundi