Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Perfecting perch production

A European project produced juvenile Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) as part of an EU-funded initiative to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enable them to diversify.
Perfecting perch production
The ‘Securing juveniles production of Eurasian perch by improving reproduction and larval rearing’ (Percatech) project helped to develop hatching and nursery activities that could be developed by SMEs in order to further the sustainable production of P. fluviatilis. The team faced a number of challenges, including the availability of juveniles due to the fish’s low reproduction rate, which is limited to early spring. Researchers investigated the impact of environmental, nutritional and population parameters in delaying the natural reproductive period in order to achieve spawning out of season.

The project’s first objective was to manage the broodstock as effectively as possible. Researchers studied techniques for freezing perch semen in order to preserve it and reduced the high mortality rates of breeding adults during spawning by determining optimal conditions, especially feeding. The consortium also focused on the production of a domesticated strain of fish with improved growth performance and compared the growth of three generations of captive juvenile P. fluviatilis reared under intensive conditions.

Gains in productivity were carefully evaluated and included the rearing of an all-female population obtained using female fish that had become breeding males with the aid of hormones. Scientists also investigated the production of hybrids of Eurasian perch (P. fluviatilis) and yellow perch (P. flavescens) so that they could compare growth performance of hybrid versus pure species under intensive rearing conditions.

The large-scale production of a triploid population and assessment of the productivity gain when rearing diploid and triploid populations was also carried out; triploid meaning that the fish have three complete sets of chromosomes rather than the usual two sets. In addition, the researchers evaluated the cost of production of a juvenile of perch according to the different production strategies and the different socioeconomic contexts.

Work conducted under the auspices of the Percatech project will help provide EU citizens with a new source of animal protein and fish farms and SMEs with a new source of income.

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