Celebrity Chef’s choice

The demand for Riverina grown cod is growing, which will lead to a significant expansion for Aquna Sustainable Murray Cod.

The Riverina based company produces premium, pond-grown Murray cod and will soon add an additional 35 ponds to its super-site at Whitton.There are already 32 ponds at the site, and the company also has a farm at Griffith and hatcheries at Grong Grong and Euberta.The company utilises man-made ponds that mimic the natural environment to provide the fish with best growing conditions.Corporate affairs manager Lynsey Reilly said the approach allows the company to supply luxuriously farmed Murray cod.“We have created a better fish with an industry-leading system, custom-designed specifically to grow Aquna Sustainable Murray Cod,” she said.“Our award-winning farms have a vertically-integrated approach to breeding, growing and supplying sustainably-farmed freshwater fish.”With an increasing appetite for the iconic Murray cod, Aquna has responded by developing a versatile ingredient that gives chefs new and flexible ways of including white-fleshed Murray cod on the menu.The process starts in the hatcheries, utilising hand-selected broodstock to breed the best fish.The fish are grouped in age and genetic lines and, once the fish are weaned, they go to the nursery.Fish in the nursery are graded every three weeks and stock of the same size are kept in recirculated tanks, where they are held until they are ready for the grow out farm.The grow out farm is the final stage, and here the fish are fed daily and are checked for good health.“This is the important growth phase for the final product and they will stay in the ponds until they reach market size, which can vary,” Mrs Reilly said.“We sell Aquna Sustainable Murray Cod in various grades from about plate size (700 grams), right through to roughly 4kg.“We harvest by hand with nets, and the fish go directly into an ice slurry.”Mrs Reilly said the key to ensuring a high quality product is to accurately simulate the natural environment.“We grow high-quality Murray cod in open ponds (or dams) on the Murray-Darling Basin river system.“We believe these ideal conditions make our cod the best-tasting on the market.“Through our innovation, we can guarantee the size and quality of the product that has a mild flavour, without the earthy taste usually associated with wild freshwater fish.“Our vision is to make sustainably-farmed Murray cod the fine-dining fish of choice in Australasia and around the globe.“Our mission is to produce great-tasting Murray cod, fully traceable from pond to plate, in a way that’s respectful to the environment, our growers, and community.”Such is the reputation of Aquna’s product, its Riverina grown cod is a favourite of celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.And he’s not only an advocate for the company, he’s a shareholder too and some of his recipes using cod can be found on Aquna’s website –