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Farming Silver Perch

Silver Perch 


Silver perch Bidyanus bidyanus , is a freshwater finfish species exotic to Western Australia, and has been imported into this State since 1950 for the purpose of stocking inland farm dams . Imports have only been allowed under licence, subject to disease-free certification and on the basis that the fish were being placed into impounded or confined waters. Lawrence (1995) discussed the prospects for aquaculture of silver perch in Western Australia and since then the industry has only expanded slowly. A similar pattern existed in the early days of the silver perch industry in NSW, where rapid progress is now being made, and this species should still be regarded as having significant potential in WA. However, its limited salinity tolerance may restrict its usage for highly saline inland waters. This publication updates the information provided by Lawrence (1995).

Research into the hatchery production of silver perch commenced in New South Wales more than 20 years ago at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre. Since 1990, silver perch has received increasing attention as a candidate finfish species for aquaculture in NSW, Queensland and WA. In 1994, a silver perch hatchery began operation in Parkerville, WA. Silver perch fingerlings are now produced at several farms and on-grown commercially at a number of locations including Northampton, Jurien, Pemberton, Esperance, Dandaragan, Dardanup and the Perth metropolitan area.





Silver perch is native to the extensive Murray-Darling river system of south-eastern Australia. Significant populations, with patchy distributions, of silver perch are found in NSW and southern Queensland. Silver perch also occurs in small numbers in the colder regions of Victoria. Over the past 50 years, the distribution and abundance of silver perch has decreased (dramatically in the last ten years) with silver perch given the conservation status of 'potentially threatened' (Jackson, 1994) and it is possible that the species will become 'endangered' in the future (Rowland & Bryant, 1995).

Distribution within Western Australia

Although silver perch is not native to WA, it has been brought here for both recreational and aquaculture ventures. Further distribution of this species within WA however, raises a number of important issues relating to the transfer of fish to waters outside their natural or previous distribution (called 'translocation'). These include the potential of the species to establish feral populations in the wild and to introduce disease. As a result the Department of Fisheries has developed a policy to enable the continued development of a silver perch industry in WA in an environmentally acceptable manner. The Department of Fisheries Management Paper No. 145 outlines areas within the State where silver perch may or may not be farmed and how silver perch can be sold or imported into WA.

The areas in which silver perch are permitted are determined by the conservation value of drainage basins:

  • Category 1: Drainage basins, or areas within drainage basins in which silver perch farms and stocking are not permitted;
  • Category 2: Drainage basins in which silver perch farms and stocking may be permitted, subject to conditions; and
  • Category 3: Drainage basins in which silver perch farms and stocking will be permitted, unless otherwise indicated by the Executive Director of the Department of Fisheries.

The appropriate temperature for growing this species in aquaculture is 22 o C to 28 o C (Rowland, 1995c), indicating most areas below the Tropic of Capricorn would be suited to silver perch farming. This coincides with the current distribution of yabbies in Western Australia.




Informtation courtesy of the WA Department of Fisheries


Farming Silver Perch



Hatchery Phase

Fingerling Phase

Growout Phase





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