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Common name: Perch
Botanical name: Perca fluviatilis
Management programme:  Exclusion and Eradication 

Where are they originally from?

Perch originate from Europe and were introduced to New Zealand as a sports fish in the 1870s, however the popularity was not the same as trout or salmon due to the lack of ‘fighting ability’.

Why are they a pest?

Perch have been shown to reduce the abundance of common bullies, inanga, smelt and koura (crayfish) in lakes where they have been introduced. In large numbers small fish such as Perch can contribute to toxic algal blooms.

Where are they found?

  • They have become well established in Otago and Southland, but also occur in many parts of the North Island, especially around Auckland, the Waikato, and coastal lakes south of New Plymouth.
  • They are generally spread by movement of equipment between waterways.
  • Perch prefer slow-flowing or still freshwater.
  • Perch are not thought to be currently in the Bay of Plenty.

What do they look like?

  • Perch are a deep-bodied fish between 1-2kg and up to 400mm long with two large, erect dorsal fins – the first having up to 17 sharp spines.
  • Olive-green back with tiger stripes running down to a silver-white belly.
  • Rear fins and the lower half of their tails are orange red.
  • There is also a broad flat spine on the gill cover.

What are the rules?


Perch is an Exclusion pest. This means that it is not yet established in this area of the Bay of Plenty region. Bay of Plenty Regional Council is responsible for managing new incursions into the region.


Eradication pests are present in this area of the Bay of Plenty region but are limited in their size or extent of infestation. The eradication of these organisms is a feasible and cost-effective solution. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is responsible for their control or eradication from the region. Action may be required from landowners or occupiers to support a control operation.

It is an offence under sections 52 and 53 of the Biosecurity Act 1993 to sell, offer for sale, display, release, move or breed perch in the Bay of Plenty region. Serious penalties are associated with distributing perch in waterways.

How do you get rid of them?

If you think you have found Perch, please contact the Bay of Plenty Regional Council who will control this species.