Perch, Lake Victoria








Lates niloticus

Nile perch

Nile perch, Lake Victoria perch

Perche du Lac Victoria


Pesce di Lago Victoria


Perca del Lago Victoria


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.


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.


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


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.


Catfish, Sea bass, Grouper