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A fierce predator that dominates its surroundings, the Nile perch feeds on fish (including its own species), crustaceans, and insects; the juveniles also feed on zooplankton. Nile perch have been introduced to many other lakes in Africa, including Lake Victoria in 1962. The Lake Victoria introduction is an often-cited example of enormous effect of a non-native species upon its new surroundings, as Nile perch decimated the rich diversity of hundreds of native species, and caused the decline or extinction of an estimated 200 chichlid fish in Lake Victoria. This highly studied introduction caused a booming fishing industry for Nile Perch which destroyed the livelihood of traditional local lake-side dwelling people and caused a chain of other high impact repercussions on the environment and economy of the area. The IUCN's (World Conservation Union) Invasive Species Specialist Group considers Lates niloticus one of the world's 100 worst invasive species. The state of Queensland in Australia levies heavy fines on anyone found in possession of a living Nile perch, since it competes directly with the native Barramundi, which is similar but does not reach the same size as the Nile perch.
The species is of great commercial importance as a food fish. The Nile perch is also popular with sport anglers as it attacks artificial fishing lures and is also raised in aquaculture.
(CABI 2011; Lipton 2003; Schofield 2012; Wikipedia 2012)