What is Nile perch (Lates niloticus)?

Nile perch Nile perch

Common names for Nile perch

Nile perch, Lake Victoria perch

Other languages for Nile perch

  • French name: Perche du Lac Victoria
  • Italian name: Pesce di Lago Victoria
  • German name: Victoriabarsch

Introduction to Nile perch

Previously known as Nile perch, the Lake Victoria perch is a freshwater fish found in the lakes and rivers of central Africa. Lake Victoria, approximately the size of South Carolina and with 2,000 miles of coastline, is home to the species’ greatest population. Although the fish originated in the Nile River — thus its original market name — the British brought it to the lake in the 1960s in order to control the development of other species and create a sport fishery. Since then, the massive, carnivorous perch has mostly taken over Lake Victoria, decimating some 350 species of indigenous fish in the process, and has established a sizable commercial fishery. As is the case with many other African species, the Lake Victoria perch is huge, reaching 300 pounds and 6 feet in length. It is believed to be the world’s biggest freshwater fish. However, commercial sizes vary from 6 to 14 pounds. Small boats operating near to shore with gillnets and longlines collect the fish.

Product profile for Nile perch

Lake Victoria perch has large fillets and a meaty texture that recalls many people of sea bass and grouper. The fish has a moderate taste, and the cooked flesh is juicy and medium-firm with a decent flake. Perch from Lake Victoria is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your health. The raw meat has a reddish, flesh-toned hue to it, but it cooks to a brilliant white color. Look for perch from Lake Victoria that has been deep-skinned and has no leftover fat. Otherwise, the color of the meat will be altered, and it will deteriorate sooner. Skinning wasn’t done deep enough, resulting in red meat; rancidity is indicated by yellowing.

Cooking tips for Nile perch

The perch in Lake Victoria is “family friendly,” with only a few tiny pinbones that may be readily removed. Lake Victoria perch is extremely forgiving due to its high oil content, since it stays wet throughout cooking. It’s an excellent candidate for smoking because of the oil content. The fish pairs nicely with strong ethnic spices and sauces, despite its mild flavor.

Nutrition facts for Nile perch

Calories: 91 Fat Calories: 10.8 Total Fat: 1.2 g Saturated Fat: 0 Cholesterol: 89.4 mg Sodium: 61.2 mg Protein: 20 g Omega 3: N/A

Primary product forms for Nile perch

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

Global supply for Nile perch

Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Iran