Large perch-like predator. Dorsal fin deeply notched, giving the appearance of two separate fins; the first part completely spinous; third dorsal spine enlarged. Lateral line continuous. Pre-orbital and pre-opercular bones with spines; a large spine on operculum.
In Lake Victoria, male size at first maturity 50-55cm TL (ca. 2 years), females 67,5-85cm TL (2-4 years). Fifty percent maturity at 60-74cm TL for males and 102-110cm TL for females. Maturity sizes strongly decreasing in recent years.
Nile perch took decades to become evident in Lake Victoria and then burst into the huge biomass of the late 1980s and 1990s and the subsequent harvest for \r\r\nexport. It rose to become the main fishery species in the lake in the late 1990s and the basis of a huge export industry. This raised the price of Nile \r\r\nperch to something beyond the reach of many lakeside communities. All of this was documented in the first two phases of an IUCN-World Conservation Union's \r\r\nNile perch project, which culminated in the making of the film \"Big fish, small fry\". The project has moved on to conflict resolution and capacity building \r\r\nusing \"beach units\" to give more responsibility and management involvement to local people. This work is supported by the three riparian government fisheries \r\r\ndepartments, through the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO), and is currently being reviewed.
\r\nIn recent years the Nile perch population has begun to stabilise and the availability of large fish has declined as has the catch which is now way below the \r\r\ncapacity of the factories which process and export the fish to USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The view of the three riparian governments is that \r\r\nNile perch is an essential export earner and they have attempted to brand it as \"organic\", as it is wild and without artificial additives etc.(although cage rearing has begun). This same export has brought some benefits to the local people (in income from fishing and jobs in factories) and \r\r\nsome disbenefits from availability of fish for food and economic and social upheaval (Howard, G., pers. comm., August 2005).
Freshwater species, but living in brackish waters in Lake Mariout. Introductions in Lake Victoria were mainly from Lake Albert, but also from Lake Turkana. The present populations in Lake Victoria are apparently not pure Lates niloticus but contain some genetic material from Lates macrophthalmus from Lake Albert.
Large predator, feeding in Lake Victoria on haplochromine cichlids, the zooplanktivorous cyprinid Rastrineobola argentea, the prawn Caridina nilotica and juvenile Nile perch (cannibalism). Young stages feed on invertebrates.
Compiler: Dr. Jos Snoeks, Africa Museum, Leuvensesteenweg, Tervuren, Belgium & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Review: Dr. Jos Snoeks, Africa Museum, Leuvensesteenweg, Tervuren, Belgium.
Publication date: 2005-04-13
Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2023) Species profile: Lates niloticus. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/speciesname/Lates+niloticus on 28-05-2023.