Chef fuming over source of Australia’s seafood

Despite being surrounded by some of the world's most abundant oceans, Australia is importing a huge chunk of its seafood.

Even 60 per cent of our barramundi supply comes from overseas, which chef and restaurateur Matt Moran says is unacceptable considering it is native to Australia.

"When you think about barramundi I think the first thing you think about is it being Australian, it is an iconic Australian fish," Mr Moran said.

"The name barramundi is indigenous for large silver-scaled fish, believe it or not.

"In a lot of restaurants you'll find that some of it is being imported, which generally means it's not as fresh, the quality is not as good.

Chef Matt Moran hosts a lunch at his North Bondi Fish restaurant to celebrate National Barramundi Day. Picture: Toby Zerna
Chef Matt Moran hosts a lunch at his North Bondi Fish restaurant to celebrate National Barramundi Day. Picture: Toby Zerna

"It's like so many people have flathead fillets on the menu, most of it is from overseas and it's shit. If I see a piece of flathead for $20 I know it's frozen and it's not from Australia. If it's $30 that's a pretty good indication it's from Australia and it's good."

While the price may be higher for Australian seafood, the quality is worth it - not only for the taste but also for the benefit to Australian fish farmers.

The Australian Barramundi Farmers Association's inaugural National Barramundi Day this Friday aims to get people thinking about where their seafood comes from and asking serious questions if it is from overseas.

As Mr Moran said, not only is importing unnecessary, the quality is low.

"The quality of the stuff we're bringing in is not fresh," Mr Moran said.

Mr Moran said while some people take issue with fish farms, preferring fish are instead caught in the wild, the future of seafood is in farming.

"I'm all for farmers and always have been," he said.

"Farmed barramundi in Australia is a perfect example of someone doing it incredibly well.

"When it comes to sustainability it's about using a farmed product because, if we don't, we're not going to have anything left."

While diners can ask restaurants where their fish is from, and request Australian, Mr Moran said businesses who bought Australian might pay more in the short-term but it would give them the edge with return customers.

"With National Barramundi Day it's really important that we all support it and ask when we go to restaurants to make sure it actually is Australian," he said.

"I think it's so competitive these days in restaurants, (you should do) anything you can do to get the upper-hand.

"I'm a very big believer in having brands on my menu and the reason is people recognise those brands, they know the quality once they've eaten them and they actually want to go back to them.

"The reason - it's fresh. You can't beat that fish. It's not cheap, but that's what it costs."