These barramundi – by the far the biggest CTS has ever laid eyes on – are two to three years old.
MainStream Aquaculture, 73-79 Lock Avenue, Werribee
As an investment banker, Boris Musa was on the board on MainStream Aquaculture in Werribee.
He liked the company and what it does so much, he signed up and is now managing director and chief executive.
And wears jeans and a polo shirt to work.
“I have a couple of expensive suits in the wardrobe that I never wear,” he says with an easy smile.
In the process, he’s moved from Hawthorn to Seaholme – so his transformation into a Westie is complete!
The old-timers seen in the top photo are named after the company’s shareholders.
I am fascinated as he talks me through the company’s operations and then gives me “the tour”.
The private company was formed in 2003 and has 40 or so investors and a staff of about 20, two of whom are involved in the marketing side of things.
It sells “seed stock genetic material” – barramundi that are about 20 to 30 days’ old – for export.
And it sells mature barramundi, as “quality food fish”, for the domestic market.
The company has three export sectors – the Middle East, South-East Asia and the US.
The company relies on pure water from an aquifer 300 metres below the company’s Werribee property. And, yes, they pay for that resource.
One of the company’s local customers is a venerable Footscray institution.
About 60 to 70 per cent of the company’s trade is in live fish, be they large or small.
But it also sells chilled whole fish and value-added products such as smoked fish.
The fingerling exports are handled two different ways.
Fish bins with oxygen regulators are designed for wide-body aircraft and can carry quarter of a million fish.
Oxygenated plastic bags in foam containers on pallets are capable of storing far fewer fish but present a more flexible option, as there are far more flights available in terms of non-wide-body planes.
Boris is participating in the 2014 Ride to Cure Diabetes – see his story and/or make a donation here.
The MainStream website is here.