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      Perch (Line drawing: Bob McDowall) - Click for full size   Perch (Photo: Bob McDowall) - Click for full size
    Taxonomic name: Perca fluviatilis (Linnaeus, 1758)
    Synonyms: Perca fluviatilis aurea Smitt, 1892, Perca fluviatilis gibba Smitt, 1892 , Perca fluviatilis gracilis Pokrovsky, 1951, Perca fluviatilis intermedius Svetovidov & Dorofeyeva, 1963, Perca fluviatilis macedonica Karaman, 1924, Perca fluviatilis maculata Smitt, 1892, Perca fluviatilis nigrescens Heckel, 1837, Perca fluviatilis phragmiteti Berg, 1933, Perca fluviatilis zaissanica Dianov, 1955, Perca helvetica Gronow, 1854, Perca italica Cuvier, 1828, Perca vulgaris aurata Fitzinger, 1832, Perca vulgaris Fitzinger, 1832, Perca vulgaris Schaeffer, 1761, Perca vulgaris Schrank, 1792
    Common names: abbor (Norwegian-Norway), abborre (Swedish-Sweden), abor (Norwegian-Norway), aborre (Danish-Denmark), aborri (Icelandic-Iceland), ahven (Finnish-Finland), almindelig Aborre (Danish-Denmark), an phéirse mhara (Gaelic, Irish-Ireland), baars (Dutch-Netherlands), bacheh Suf (Farsi-Iran), Bahrs (German-Germany), Barsch (German-Germany), berse (German-Germany), Bersich (German-Germany), biban (Romanian), boyat (French-France), brell (French-France), cochonnet (French-France), Egli (German-Germany), Eurasian perch (English-USA), Europæisk aborre (Danish-Denmark), European perch (English-UK), Flußbarsch (German-Austria), Flussbarsch (German), hurlin (French), hürling (French), jôlerie (French), kostur (Bulgarian), Kretzer (German), mahi suf rudkhaneh-y astrakhan (Farsi), mahi-ye khardar (Farsi), obyknovennyi okun' (Russian), okon (Polish), okoun rícní (Czech), okun (Russian), ostriez (Czech-Czech Rep), ostriež (Slovak-Slovakia), peirse (Gaelic, Irish-Ireland), perca (Spanish), pérca chaní (Greek), perca europea (Spanish), perca-europeia (Portuguese), perch (English), perchat (French-France), Perchaude (French-France), perchaude (French-Can Quebec), perche (French-France), perche commune (French), perche européenne (French), perche fluviatile (French), percho (French-France), perchot (French-France), perco (French-France), percot (French-France), perki (Greek-Greece), persico (Italian-Italy), persico reale (Italian-Italy), pesce (Italian-Italy), pesce persico (Italian), rechen kostur (Bulgarian-Bulgaria), rechnoi okun (Ukrainian-Ukraine), redfin perch (English-Australia), river perch (English), sharmak (Albanian-Albania), soof-e-hajitarkhan (Farsi-Iran), suf Haji Tarkhan (Farsi-Iran), suf rudkhaneh-ye (Farsi-Iran), sügér (Hungarian), tatlisu levregi (Turkish-Turkey), tatlisulevregi baligi (Turkish-Turkey)
    Organism type: fish
    Perca fluviatilis (perch) are a widespread species of predatory freshwater fish that are prized for angling. Their natural range is throughout much of Europe, but they have been introduced to a number of countries around the world as a sport fish. The effect of Perca fluviatilis on native aquatic fauna has lead to it being designated as invasive in many locations.
    Coloured olive green to grey on dorsal surface, green to silver on sides, and silvery-white on the ventral surface. There are six or more dark vertical bands across the sides and a distinct blotch at the rear of the first dorsal fin. There is a definited dorsal hump to the rear of the head and the gill covers consist of a broad, flat spine. A distinctive feature is the bright reddish-orange colouring of the pelvic and anal fins, as well as the lower half of the tail. Perch often grow to a length of 400mm and 2kg in weight, but some populations can become dwarfed and are much smaller (McDowall, 2000).
    Similar Species
    Perca flavescens

    Occurs in:
    lakes, water courses
    Habitat description
    Lives in slow-flowing freshwater rivers, ponds, deep and shallow lakes, often close to underwater obstacles. Tends to avoid cold, fast-flowing waters, as temperatures of 10-22°C are preferred. Perch are found up to 30m in depth and in a pH range of 7.0-7.5 (FishBase, 2004). Unable to tolerate waters with elevated salinity (McDowall, 1990).
    General impacts
    As a predator upon zooplankton, macroinvertebrates and fish, perch have the potential to significantly alter native freshwater communities (Closs et al. 2003).
    Perch is a very popular coarse angling fish in Europe. The firm, white flesh makes for very good eating. (McDowall, 2000). There are commercial fisheries in some parts of Europe.
    Geographical range
    Native range: Native range extends throughout Europe.
    Known introduced range: Introduced to Australia, China, Cyprus, Italy, Morocco, New Zealand, Spain and South Africa (FishBase, 2004). The species is not a true native of Ireland (although it was introduced 100s of years ago) and it is still absent from parts of Scotland.
    Introduction pathways to new locations
    Stocking: Perch may be stocked as a sport fish in some locations.

    Local dispersal methods
    Natural dispersal (local): Perch could expand their distribution within a water body by swimming to new areas.
    Management information
    Preventative measures: The use of potentially invasive alien species for aquaculture and their accidental release/or escape can have negative impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystems. Hewitt et al, (2006) Alien Species in Aquaculture: Considerations for responsible use aims to first provide decision makers and managers with information on the existing international and regional regulations that address the use of alien species in aquaculture, either directly or indirectly; and three examples of national responses to this issue (Australia, New Zealand and Chile). The publication also provides recommendations for a ‘simple’ set of guidelines and principles for developing countries that can be applied at a regional or domestic level for the responsible management of Alien Species use in aquaculture development. These guidelines focus primarily on marine systems, however may equally be applied to freshwater.

    Copp et al, (2005) Risk identification and assessment of non-native freshwater fishes presents a conceptual risk assessment approach for freshwater fish species that addresses the first two elements (hazard identification, hazard assessment) of the UK environmental risk strategy. The paper presents a few worked examples of assessments on species to facilitate discussion. The electronic Decision-support tools- Invasive-species identification tool kits that includes a freshwater and marine fish invasives scoring kit are made available on the Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science) page for free download (subject to Crown Copyright (2007-2008)).

    Trapping & Netting: Experiments in New Zealand indicate that netting and trapping may be able to eradicate perch from small ponds and lakes (Closs et al. 2003).

    Eats a variety of aquatic organisms, including fish (including conspecifics), amphipods, crabs, isopods, shrimps, insects, fish eggs and larvae, cladocerans, copepods and mysids (FishBase, 2004).
    Spawning occurs in spring, with up to 200,000 externally fertilised eggs laid in a gelatinous ribbon amongst instream debris. No parental care is provided but the eggs are inedible. Hatching occurs after about a week and the young form shoals for a time, before becoming more solitary as they mature (McDowall, 2000).
    Lifecycle stages
    Males usually mature at 1 year of age, but not always. Females mature at 2 years old (McDowall, 2000). Perch have been recorded as living for up to 22 years in Sweden (FishBase, 2004).
    Reviewed by: Ian J Winfield. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK
    Principal sources: McDowall, R. M. 2000. The Reed field guide to New Zealand freshwater fishes. Auckland, Reed.

    FishBase, 2003 Species profile Perca fluviatilis

    Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group
    Updates with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
    Last Modified: Monday, 4 October 2010

ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland