Illustration of Perch

Perch

Filters

Seafood Variety

Harvest Method

Regions

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Yellow perch

Perca flavescens

Method

Wild

Bottom gillnet, Trap net

Location

Canada (Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Superior) & US (Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, Lake Superior)

Overall Rating

2.8 - 3.2 / 5

Summary

Yellow perch are near-shore species of the Great Lakes whose populations reached peaks in the 1980’s before declining in the 1990’s. Their population has been historically variable due to habitat loss, invasive species, and overfishing. The largest fishery for yellow perch is in Lake Erie with 3,122 tonnes landed in 2012.

The yellow perch in Lake Erie have been increasing in abundance over the past few years. Yellow perch in Canadian Lake Superior have a history of being overfished until the fishery was closed in 2004. However the population is currently recovering and is well-managed to prevent overfishing. In US Lake Superior (Michigan), populations are stable and fishing rate is low. In Lake Huron, the population decreased in the 1980’s to 1990’s but is now recovering. Yellow perch are harvested from Lake Ontario in both the US and Canada and would benefit from more thorough stock assessments. Stocks in Lake Michigan are of moderate concern due to poor survival of juveniles.

Management of the Great Lakes fisheries is shared between several organizational bodies, which collaborate under Lake Committees. Management is moderately effective; the various regulatory measures concern research, enforcement, stocking, quotas, water quality monitoring, stock assessments, and other issues.

Little bycatch occurs. Most non-target fish are retained and sold portside as they have commercial value. Bottom gillnets and trap nets cause minimal habitat impacts. Although these fishing methods make contact with the substrate, they are immobile and do not cause physical destruction of the lake bottom.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Yellow perch

Perca flavescens

Method

Wild

Trap net

Location

Maryland, US

Overall Rating

3.0 / 5

Summary

The yellow perch fyke net fishery of Maryland operates mainland in winter in the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. Almost all the landings of yellow perch in Maryland are from this fishery. The fishery consists of small boats, and is highly traceable with tags which allow tracking from harvest to market. These tags are issued by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. In 2014, 25,093lbs were landed. The Maryland yellow perch are sold domestically with no foreign exports.

The management body responsible for the yellow perch fyke net fishery is the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. In 2002, a fisheries management plan was established, and in 2009, a total annual catch was implemented. As a result, abundance has been relatively stable except for certain tributaries which remain depleted. All fish are tagged individually which allows for reporting compliance, enforcement, and traceability. The fishery is currently healthy and is not being overfished. Much is known about the population as both fishery-dependent and fishery-independent data is collected.

Fyke nets operate similarly to traps and thus have low habitat impacts. More studies exploring the impact of the fishery on the ecosystem, as well as bycatch impacts are needed. Bycatch is of some concern as it is not measured, documented or managed. It is unknown whether threatened species are part of the bycatch. Terrapins may be caught as bycatch during warmer months, and if nets are left in the water after the winter fishing season has closed.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Yellow perch

Perca flavescens

Method

Farmed

Recirculating aquaculture system (RAS)

Location

US

Overall Rating

7 / 10

Summary

Yellow perch is currently farmed by only one operation, Bell Aquaculture, located in Indiana, U.S. Most of the demand for yellow perch is from the North Central U.S., and in 2010, 797 million tons were landed by the commercial fishery in the U.S. It is estimated that in 2012, Bell Aquaculture produced 485 million tons of yellow perch.

Yellow perch have been targeted by commercial fisheries operating in the Great Lakes for at least 100 years. The aquaculture of yellow perch relieves pressure on wild stocks to satisfy consumer demand. There is minimal habitat and ecosystem impacts since the farms are not located on particularly sensitive habitat, no harmful chemicals have been used to date, 99% of the water is recirculated, and fish waste is converted into organic fertilizer. In addition, the farm has created an artificial wetland that helps to filter waste water.

There is some concern about the feed used to grow the yellow perch as there are some uncertainties regarding the exact source of the fishmeal. However, many other aspects of the aquaculture of yellow perch have minimal impacts on other species. Since the yellow perch are reared indoors, there is little risk of predator mortality. Risk of escape and spread of disease is extremely low, since the fish are farmed on land, and are not directly connected to other water bodies. There is also no stress imposed on wild stocks, as fish are sourced from domesticated and farmed broodstock.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Yellow perch

Perca flavescens

Method

Wild

Midwater gillnet

Location

Manitoba

Overall Rating

1.6 / 5

Summary

There are about 300 lakes that are commercially fished in Manitoba. This report covers Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipeg, and Lake Winnipegosis from which lake whitefish, northern pike, walleye, and yellow perch are primarily caught. In 2011-2012, total production of these four species in Manitoba lakes exceeded 8,830 tonnes. Walleye comprised more than half of the catch. Canada and the US are the main markets for Manitoba-caught walleye and lake whitefish. The main market for northern pike is France, and the main market for yellow perch is Wisconsin.

The lake fish caught in Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipeg and Lake Winnipegosis include walleye, lake whitefish, northern pike, and yellow perch. Walleye stocks are abundant compared to historic levels in Lake Winnipeg, whereas the walleye stock has collapsed in Lake Winnipegosis. Very little is known about the stock status of the other species in any of the Manitoban lakes. Walleye, northern pike and lake whitefish have life history characteristics that make them moderately vulnerable to fishing pressure. Yellow perch have a low vulnerability to fishing pressure.

Management of the Great Lakes fisheries is shared between several organizational bodies, which collaborate under Lake Committees. Although some data is collected, this information is not used to make management decisions. Harvest control rules are absent which impairs the ability to make informed harvesting decisions. Management also fails to address potentially high rates of bycatch.

Gillnets cause minimal amounts of habitat impact. However, the freshwater fish of Manitoba are keystone species. This means that their ecosystem function is disproportionately important compared to their biomass. It is highly concerning that their removal from the ecosystem is not monitored by scientific or management bodies.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Pikeperch

Sander lucioperca

Method

Gillnet, Trap

Location

Sweden

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
SIC Lake Malaren and Lake Vanern pikeperch

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Perch

Perca fluviatilis

Method

Wild

Trap net

Location

Bratsk Reservoir, Angara River, Irkutsk oblast, Russia

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Bratsk Reservoir perch

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Common perch

Perca fluviatilis

Method

Wild

Gillnet

Location

Irikla Reservoir, Caspian Sea Basin, Russia

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Irikla Reservoir perch

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Perch

Perca fluviatilis

Method

Various

Location

Europe inland waters

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Lake Peipus perch and pike-perch

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

  • Various