Farming of Eurasian perch in Kainuu Fisheries Research Station
Aquaculture has become an important part of overall world food production. The Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) is a highly valued food fish in Europe but commercial harvests of perch in Finland are even failing to keep pace with domestic market demands. Thus the perch holds great potential for aquaculture in Finland.
Developing aquaculture techniques for a new species is challenging. The production of juvenile perch in high numbers has been effective using pond culture methods. A major challenge for perch farming has been to produce fish that will feed on artificial food during their intensive growth period in tank-rearing.
The ongoing pilot project surveys the possibilities of perch farming in Finland, and aims to establish aquaculture methods suitable for the region. The main objectives in the pilot experiments are to 1) model the growth capacity of perch kept on different diets, and 2) explore whether the perch feeding behaviour in tank-rearing could be improved by interspecific social learning, i.e. by using hatchery-raised brown trout (Salmo trutta) as tutors. After the pilot experiments, the project will continue by developing optimal rearing conditions for growth in order to efficiently rear the perch to marketable size.