Sales of farmed barramundi in Waitrose have soared following a switch from whole fish to fillets.

Sales have risen more than fivefold since Waitrose switched in November, said supplier New Forest Barramundi, because fillets were easier to prepare.

The aquaculture operation produces 500 tonnes a year, and expects to have reached 80-90% of current capacity by the summer.

Some 80% of production is sent to retail, with Sainsbury's taking whole fish and fillets going into Morrisons and Waitrose. Tesco will trial whole fish from March.

The company hopes take-up of farmed barramundi will be encouraged by concerns about pressures on wild fish stocks. "The more people who eat it, the pressure will definitely be taken off other stocks," said MD Robert Smith.

The Australian native barramundi has a pungent aroma and strong taste. It has a similar texture to sea bass, being crumbly but moderately moist.