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Yellow perch (Perca flavescens): Broodstock, feed development and commercial production



The yellow perch is a freshwater fish that is highly-prized for its firm, white flesh. At present, yellow perch production in Canada comes mainly from commercial fisheries; efficient culture methods for this species have not been developed. The main objectives of this research are to study, develop and improve yellow perch culture methods and transfer this technology to the aquaculture sector. The main focus of the research is to develop a genetically-diverse broodstock, optimize feeding and husbandry techniques, and establish flesh quality guidelines. Our broodstock selection program currently has 1400 adults (70 % female). Methods to improve handling of broodstock, including hand spawning and egg incubation have been developed. Egg hatching success has been improved but more work is needed to increase feeding success and survival of the young. Research to determine optimum rearing temperatures and the timing of the change from live feed to commercial feeds is ongoing. High quality, nutrient dense, larval feeds have been tested but improvements in feed delivery during the first six weeks after hatch will require additional research. Variation in size is still quite high and grow out experiments have been done by manipulating light and grading to optimize growth. A recirculation system for intensive grow-out is being tested. Although still in the early stages the yellow perch industry considers intensive aquaculture using recirculation systems as the preferred approach for grow out. Pond culture is being considered for fry (up to 7.5 cm in length) during the warmest summer months. To date, 9000 juvenile yellow perch have been transferred to producers in Manitoba for grow-out. Research is continuing on establishing industry guidelines on fillet quality, and a fish processing facility is being established in rural Manitoba. This research has made significant advances toward the development of yellow perch as an economically-viable culture species and will accelerate diversification in the Canadian aquaculture industry.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2002 - 2005


Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin

Principal Investigator(s)

Mike Papst

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