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Binomial Name: Lates calcarifer
Species: L. calcarifer
Other Names:Asian sea bass
Bengali Name : Vhetki Fish
The barramundi (Lates calcarifer) or Asian sea bass, is a species of catadromous fish in family Latidae of order Perciformes. The species is widely distributed in the Indo-West Pacific region from Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia. Known in Thai language as pla kapong, it is very popular in Thai cuisine.
This species has an elongated body form with a large, slightly oblique mouth and an upper jaw extending behind the eye. The lower edge of the preoperculum is serrated with a strong spine at its angle; the operculum has a small spine and a serrated flap above the origin of the lateral line. Its scales are ctenoid. In cross section, the fish is compressed and the dorsal head profile clearly concave. The single dorsal and ventral fins have spines and soft rays; the paired pectoral and pelvic fins have soft rays only; and the caudal fin has soft rays and is truncate and rounded. Barramundi are salt and freshwater sportfish, targeted by many. They have large, silver scales, which may become darker or lighter, depending on their environments. Their bodies can reach up to 1.8 m (5.9 ft) long, though evidence of them being caught at this size is scarce. The maximum weight is about 60 kg (130 lb). The average length is about 0.6–1.2 m (2.0–3.9 ft). Its genome size is about 700 Mb, which was sequenced and published in Animal Genetics (2015, in press) by James Cook University.
Barramundi are demersal, inhabiting coastal waters, estuaries, lagoons, and rivers; they are found in clear to turbid water, usually within a temperature range of 26?30 °C. This species does not undertake extensive migrations within or between river systems, which has presumably influenced establishment of genetically distinct stocks in Northern Australia.
The barramundi feeds on crustaceans, molluscs, and smaller fish (including its own species); juveniles feed on zooplankton. The barramundi is euryhaline, but stenothermal. It inhabits rivers and descends to estuaries and tidal flats to spawn. In areas remote from fresh water, purely marine populations may become established.
At the start of the monsoon, males migrate downriver to meet females, which lay very large numbers of eggs (several millions each). The adults do not guard the eggs or the fry, which require brackish water to develop.
The species is sequentially hermaphroditic, with most individuals maturing as males and becoming female after at least one spawning season; most of the larger specimens are therefore female. Fish held in captivity sometimes demonstrate features atypical of fish in the wild: they change sex at a smaller size, exhibit a higher proportion of protandry and some males do not undergo sexual inversion:
As Food: Barramundi have a mild flavour and a white, flaky flesh, with varying amount of body fat.
In Australia, such is the demand for the fish that a substantial amount of barramundi consumed there is actually imported. This has placed economic pressure on Australian producers, both fishers and farmers, whose costs are greater due to remoteness of many of the farming and fishing sites, as well as stringent environmental and food safety standards placed on them by government. While country of origin labelling has given consumers greater certainty over the origins of their barramundi at the retail level, no requirement exists for the food service and restaurant trades to label the origins of their barramundi.
In the US, barramundi is growing in popularity. Monterey Bay Aquarium has deemed US and Vietnam-raised barramundi as “Best Choice” under the Seafood Watch sustainability program.
Barramundi are a favorite food of the region’s apex predator, saltwater crocodiles, which have been known to take them from unwary fishermen.
Nile perch—a similar fish found in the Afrotropic ecozone, or sub-Saharan Africa—is often mislabeled as barramundi.
Locally caught bhetki (barramundi) is a popular fish among Bengali people, mainly dished in festivities like marriages and other important social events, cooked as Bhetki macher paturi, bhetki macher kalia or coated with suji (semolina) and pan fried. It is very popular among people who are usually sceptical to eat fish because of their tiny pin bones. Bhetki fillets have no pin bones in them. In Bengali cuisine therefore the fry of “Bhetki” fillets is popular, commonly known as “Fish Fry” which is considered to be of good quality if it is made of this fish.
Low in Fat:
A 6-ounce fillet of fresh barramundi contains 140 calories, and 13 percent of this amount — approximately 18 calories, or 2 grams — comes from fat. For a woman on a 2,000-calorie diet, a serving of barramundi would supply only 2 to 3.5 percent of her recommended daily limit of fat. Barramundi contains no saturated fat, although it does have 70 milligrams of cholesterol, which is 23 percent of the total a healthy adult should have each day. Columbia Health assures that, despite the cholesterol content, the health benefits of fish like barramundi still make it a good choice in a balanced diet.
Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
A serving of some commercially farmed barramundi contains about 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids, nearly as much as the 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids found in every serving of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel or herring. There isn’t a recommended daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids, but eating two servings of fish such as barramundi per week will supply most adults with enough, says the University of Massachusetts Medical School. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may help lower your cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders.
Excellent Protein Choice:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the average adult woman needs 46 grams of protein per day, while a man should have about 56 grams. Barramundi supplies 35 grams of protein in a 6-ounce fillet – that’s 76 percent of a woman’s protein RDA and 62 percent of a man’s daily protein requirement. You may have a better chance of avoiding chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease if you get more of your protein from plant-based sources, poultry or seafood, rather than red or processed meats.
Variety of Vitamins and Minerals:
Like all fish, barramundi is a source of a number of essential vitamins and minerals that support your immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems, including selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A and calcium. Each 6-ounce fillet of barramundi contains 40 milligrams of calcium, or 4 percent of the 1,000-milligram daily recommended intake for adults. Barramundi also provides approximately 4 percent of an adult’s required intake of vitamin A.
Health Benefits of Barramundi:
Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of barramundi.
Low Mercury Levels:
Barramundi is one fish that eats plankton for surviving, unlike other fish that gobble up smaller fish. This makes the palmer a healthier food option for all the fish lovers as the mercury levels in this fish are very low. Moreover, you can relish this fish without any guilt of contributing to its extinction, merely because it relies on the freshwater organism plankton for its sustainability.
There is a very high level of omega-3 fatty acids in barramundi, which are often considered good, as the body needs a certain amount of HDL or good cholesterol for normal functioning. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been directly linked to lower risk of cancer, making barramundi a very valuable catch indeed.