Industry threats Differentiating Australian Barramundi Harvest methods Stress Measuring harvest stress NGO’s & legislation Conclusions Content
What are the threats to the barramundi industry How do we compete with these imports DIFFERENTIATION! High retail price Imports Alternative products
Product quality Animal welfare Feed Environmental responsibilities Local employment Harvest methods “Scottish Quality Salmon operates above the regulatory framework imposed on the Scottish salmon farming industry. The salmon are strictly monitored and, as with any kind of animal production, only the use of authorised veterinary medicines and vaccinations to protect fish welfare and combat naturally occurring diseases or pest problems is permitted” This quality brand was designed to differentiate the domestic product from cheaper alternatives and to highlight to customers that the fish they were buying was of a consistent high quality from an accredited farm.
Traditional brailing and cosh harvesting of salmon in Scotland (1992) So what are the modern alternatives? Harvest Methods
So what are the alternatives? Crowding methods to reduce stress Rapid harvest of the fish before stress parameters develop Percussive stunning Electrocution, CO 2 Ikejime (spiking the brain) Rested harvest which involves conservative handling and the use of anesthetics to minimise pre-mortem stress in the animal.
Acute and chronic stress Acute Stress (adaptive) –A single event for a short period. The stress response rapidly regains the animals natural state within hours. Chronic Stress (maladaptive) –A constant long term stress which the fish has no way of avoiding has an adverse effect on health, growth and reproductive STRESS CORTISOL LACTIC ACID GLUCOSE PROTEIN DENATURATION WATER HOLDING CAPACITY TEXTURE + + Creatine Phosphate ATP AMP RIGOR MORTIS ODOUR TASTE Physiological response:
Physical consequences of stress at harvest Gaping and blood spotting are due to several factors but primarily increased flesh and blood pH. This attacks the collagen fibers and artery walls which then allows muscle blocks to separate and blood vessels to rupture. This is compounded by increased blood flow due to rapid swimming activity prior to harvest.
Physiological Consequences of Rested Harvest in barramundi delayed rigor onset -increase time to process pre-rigor maintain higher physiologically flesh pH –Improved visual appearance External colour Flesh colour Reduced gaping Eye clarity
What are the threats to the barramundi industry How do we compete with these imports DIFFERENTIATION! High retail price Imports
Farmed Fish Welfare (proactive dialogue with NGO’s & Government) Main impacts of aquaculture The seven key environmental and social impacts are: Benthic impacts and siting: Chemicals and excess nutrients from food and feces Chemical inputs: Excessive use of chemicals - such as antibiotics and pesticides – Escapes: Can compete with wild fish and interbreed with local wild. Feed: Reduce dependency on fishmeal and fishoil Nutrient loading and carrying capacity: Excess food and fish waste increase the levels of nutrients in the water Social issues: labor practices and worker rights under public scrutiny. Additionally, conflicts can arise among users of coastal environments.
Farmed Fish Welfare (proactive dialogue with NGO’s & Government) Demand in the UK increased by 31.7% between 2008 and 2009 alone which also saw Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Little Chef all stop selling or using caged eggs. Public opinion is a very powerful tool!
Farmed Fish Welfare – the alternative Public pressure If you don’t think this will happen in Australia
Conclusion Why spend 16 months growing a fish to reduce its value in the last 60 minutes of its life? There is a fantastic opportunity to differentiate Australian barra from cheap foreign imports A high quality consistent Australian alternative to foreign imports should be an industry imperative in the future I’d suggest the barramundi industry should be engaging with NGOs and Government to: Set a standard Then voluntarily exceed these regulations Market the welfare and clean green aspects of the product