Barramundi are a highly opportunistic species that dominate many tropical rivers. Delicious and thrilling to catch, they also live in both freshwater and saltwater, change sex and eat just about anything. Barramundi support substantial commercial, recreational and customary fisheries, as well as an aquaculture industry Australia-wide.
Barramundi belong to the sea perch family of fishes (Centropomidae)
and are distantly related to the famous Nile perch of Africa. Internationally, barramundi are also known as Asian sea bass, giant perch, or giant sea perch.
Barramundi have not always had such an iconic name in Australia, and were once known as Asian sea bass. In the 1980’s, barramundi was appropriated for marketing reasons. Prior to this, barramundi was believed to be an Aboriginal word initiated from the Rockhampton area meaning ‘large scale river fish’. This is thought to have originally referred to another large freshwater fish, the saratoga. The earliest recorded form is ‘burra-mundi’.
Barramundi are distributed throughout coastal areas of the Indo-West Pacific region – from the eastern edge of the Persian Gulf to China, Taiwan, southern Japan southward to Papua New Guinea, and northern Australia. In Western Australia, barramundi are found in rivers and along the coast from Exmouth Gulf to the Northern Territory border, however, they are most prolific in the Kimberley where a large area of the State’s tropical rivers are located.
Information sourced from Fish WA