Fish Available Now
Fingerlings of Murray Cod, Golden Perch and Silver Perch are available in late Spring and early Summer.
Table size Murray Cod are available all year round.
Murray codMaccullochella peelii peelii
The Murray cod is Australia’s largest, longest-lived, and most iconic freshwater fish. It is a most impressive fish – having been recorded as living over 50 years of age, weighing over 110 kilograms and measuring over 1.8 metres long. It is also recognised as one of Australia’s most aesthetically beautiful, with a grouper-like shape, a creamy-white underside and a spotted, green pattern on its body and head.
The Murray cod has a marine ancestry – fossil evidence from the Miocene epoch suggests the ancient ancestors of Murray cod to be an ocean species. Today, Murray cod both resemble and are scientifically related to marine groupers.
Importance to our history and culture
The Murray cod is undoubtedly Australia’s most culturally important fish. It was critical to the lifestyle, diet and mythology of the Indigenous Australian tribes living along the Murray River, and played a central role in the creation story of the Murray River and its other fish species.
Eventually, as awareness grew of the dire condition of Murray cod populations, voluntary bans on commercial fishing and size restrictions were introduced, and consumers gradually turned away from incorporating Murray cod into their diets.
However, it was not until the late 1970’s before conservation efforts to save and revive wild populations of Murray cod began in earnest with the establishment of government restocking programs and the development of the native fish breeding industry. Indeed, it was for this purpose that Uarah Fisheries was established in 1977.
Today, recreational fishing for Murray cod continues under heavy restrictions. Murray cod are one of the most prized recreational fishes in Australia, and are extremely sought-after by renowned fine dining restaurants in Australia and around the world.
Conservation and breeding
The Murray cod is listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and as a vulnerable species by the Australian Society for Fish Biology and under Australian law, as per the Environmental Protection of Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).
Habitat destruction has also affected the feeding and breeding of Murray cod, while irrigation and water regulation practices regularly decimate Murray cod larvae populations. Furthermore, dams and weirs provide physical impairments to fish movement in the river, and invasive species such as Redfin are known to prey on Murray cod larvae, and can potentially introduce viruses and diseases into wild populations.
Conservation efforts for Murray cod commenced in the 1970’s and continue to this day, helped by restocking programs that release Murray cod fingerlings into strategic areas of the Murray-Darling Basin. These fish are bred and raised in specialised hatcheries, notably including Uarah Fisheries, and state-funded programs in New South Wales and Victoria.
Since 1977, Uarah Fisheries (then known as Uarah Warm Water Fish Hatchery), has contributed greatly to the annual restocking programs in New South Wales and Victoria, producing over 1 million Murray cod fingerlings annually since the 1980’s.
Aquaculture and market potential
Due to the various and significant pressures on wild populations of Murray cod, commercial breeding and aquaculture provides both an environmental solution and alternative, both in terms of restocking of fingerlings into the wild population each year, and also in terms of providing a sustainable and reliable source of Murray cod table fish.
Meanwhile, after pioneering the Murray cod aquaculture industry in the late 1980’s, Uarah Fisheries continues to be widely regarded as the highest-quality producer of Murray cod in the industry. For over 25 years, Uarah Fisheries has produced over 10 tonnes of premium quality Murray cod annually, with most being sold to premium wholesalers for the live and chilled markets.
High in omega-3, and with firm, white flesh and creamy, umami-rich flavour entwined with mild, earthy tones, Murray cod has traditionally been recognised as one of the best-tasting and most nutritious Australian fish. Today, it is once again widely regarded by Australia’s best chefs as our most iconic and luxurious freshwater fish – suitable for both western and eastern cuisines.
Meanwhile, the export potential of Murray cod is similarly immense. In our own experience, we have received direct expressions of interest in Murray cod from numerous overseas aquaculture businesses, wholesalers, restaurants, hotels and consumers.
Taste tests, conducted by the State Government of Victoria, Department of Natural Resources & Environment as early as in 2001, have indicated that the taste profile of Murray cod is especially pleasing to the consumer markets of Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. This is also confirmed by the feedback that we, Uarah Fisheries, have independently received from taste testing initiatives in the Chinese market over 2015 and 2016.
Golden perchMacquaria ambigua
The golden perch, also known as yellowbelly, is a medium-sized, gold-coloured Australian freshwater fish species. Golden perch are found throughout the Murray-Darling Basin, and are generally sympatric with Murray cod.
The golden perch is a very tolerant fish species, being to live in temperatures as low as 4°C and as high as 37°C, and even in salinities of 33,000 parts per million, almost that of seawater. Golden perch are generally very active, such that very long migrations are part of their ecology. Adult fish have been recorded has having migrated more than 1,000 kilometres.
The golden perch is listed as being a vulnerable species under Australian law, as per the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic).
Alarmingly, the number of manmade barriers in the Murray-Darling Basin was estimated to be around 4,000 in 2007 by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.
Conservation efforts for golden perch commenced in the 1970’s and continue to this day, helped by restocking programs that release golden perch fingerlings into strategic areas of the Murray-Darling Basin. These fish are bred and raised in specialised hatcheries, notably including Uarah Fisheries, and state-funded programs in New South Wales and Victoria.
Since 1977, Uarah Fisheries (then known as Uarah Warm Water Fish Hatchery), has contributed greatly to these restocking programs, producing over 2 million golden perch fingerlings annually since the 1980’s.
The golden perch is a valued angling species, known for its firm flesh and delicious flavour. It is considered to be a premium freshwater fish species, with market prices higher than that of silver perch and barramundi, and second only to that of Murray cod.
Silver perchBidyanus bidyanus
The silver perch is a medium-sized, silver-coloured freshwater fish species, endemic to the Murray-Darling river system in south-eastern Australia. The silver perch’s scientific name originates from an Aboriginal name for the species, “Bidyan”, recorded by explorer Sir Thomas Mitchell during his first expedition in 1832.
Silver perch are a highly migratory species, and their extensive migratory tendencies are recognised as part of their spawning behaviour. Adult silver perch have been recorded as migrating over 680 kilometres in just 19 months.
The silver perch is listed as a critically endangered species under Australian law, as per the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). Though once prevalent throughout the Murray-Darling Basin, silver perch populations have undergone a rapid and drastic decline since the 1970’s – almost to the point of extinction in the wild. Based on modern estimates, silver perch have disappeared from 87 per cent of its former range.
Conservation efforts for silver perch commenced in the 1970’s and continue to this day, helped by restocking programs that release silver perch fingerlings into strategic areas of the Murray-Darling Basin. These fish are bred and raised in specialised hatcheries, notably including Uarah Fisheries, and state-funded programs in New South Wales and Victoria.
Since 1977, Uarah Fisheries (then known as Uarah Warm Water Fish Hatchery), has produced up to 2 million silver perch fingerlings annually since the 1980’s.
In comparison to Murray cod and golden perch, silver perch is also comparatively simpler to raise due to its omnivorous diet and ready acceptance of artificial feed. As a result, silver perch table fish is produced in significantly higher volumes than Murray cod or golden perch, and generally fetches lower prices – though still comparable to that of barramundi.
At Uarah Fisheries, though we have produced large volumes of silver perch table fish in the past, our current production is primarily-centred on supplying restocking programs along the Murray-Darling Basin.
Silver perch are an excellent eating species, with a clean white flesh that is suitable for a wide range of cooking methods. Silver perch is especially suited to Asian cuisine as a “banquet” fish, though more recently, the chilled market for filleted larger silver perch has also seen some development.