Market Name: Nile perch
Scientific Name: Lates niloticus
Common Name: Nile perch, Lake Victoria perch
Flavor: Mild
Texture: Medium

Formerly called Nile perch, Lake Victoria perch is a freshwater fish found in central Africa’s lakes and rivers. Lake Victoria, roughly the size of South Carolina and with 2,000 miles of shoreline, claims the largest population of this species. The fish originated in the Nile River — hence its original market name — but in the 1960s, the British introduced the perch to the lake to curb the growth of other species and develop a sport fishery. The huge, carnivorous perch has since all but taken over Lake Victoria, decimating some 350 species of native fish in the process, and now supports a substantial commercial fishery. Like many species found in Africa, Lake Victoria perch is enormous, reaching 300 pounds and 6 feet in length. It is said to be the largest freshwater fish in the world. Commercial sizes, however, range from 6 to 14 pounds. The fish are harvested by small boats working close to shore with gillnets and longlines.

Product Profile:
With big fillets and a meaty texture, Lake Victoria perch reminds many people of sea bass and grouper. The fish is mild flavored, and the moist, medium-firm cooked meat has a good flake. Lake Victoria perch is rich in healthful omega-3 oils. The raw meat has a pinkish, flesh-toned tint, but it cooks up snow white. Look for Lake Victoria perch that’s been deep-skinned, leaving no residual fat. Otherwise, the meat color will be affected, and the meat will spoil sooner. Red flesh indicates skinning wasn’t deep enough; yellowing is an indication of rancidity.

You Should Know:
Unless your customers like strong-flavored fish, opt for smaller sizes of Lake Victoria perch, and make sure they’ve been deep-skinned to completely remove the fat layer.

Cooking Tips:
Lake Victoria perch is “family friendly,” with only small pinbones that are easily removed. With its high oil content, Lake Victoria perch is also very forgiving, as it remains moist during cooking. The oil content makes it a good candidate for smoking. Despite its mild flavor, the fish works well with strong ethnic seasonings and sauces.

Cooking Methods: Bake,Broil,Grill,Saute',Smoke

Substitutions: Catfish, Sea bass, Grouper

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: H&G, Fillets (boneless, skin-on/skinless), Fillet portions
Frozen: Fillets (boneless, skin-on/ skinless)
Value-Added: Smoked

Global Supply: