These are guidelines to help you and your family make safer meal choices. If you are unsure of the origin of your perch, follow the most restrictive recommendation.
Wild caught (mercury is the chemical of concern):
- Women under 50 and children under 15: safe to eat up to 1 serving per week (WI DNR).
- See — Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Eating Your Catch
Farm raised: No consumption advisory for Wisconsin farm-raised yellow perch.
Taste and Nutrition
Yellow perch, also known as lake perch, have a mild, sweet flavor with firm, flaky white flesh. Yellow perch have slightly more omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) than Atlantic cod.
The size of yellow perch can vary greatly depending on the source, but adults are usually 4-10 inches long and weigh an average of 5 ounces. Usually served as fillets or sandwich fillings, the fillet size allows for many preparations. Several studies have found that consumers cannot distinguish any difference in taste between wild yellow perch and farm-raised yellow perch.
How They Are Harvested
Currently Wisconsin commercial fishermen are only allowed to fish for yellow perch in the waters of Green Bay, and most of this catch is harvested using gill nets and sold to local restaurants and fish markets. While a few tribal fisheries exist around the Great Lakes, most wild Great Lakes yellow perch sold in grocery stores is caught in Lake Erie by Canadian fishermen using gill nets.
How They Are Raised
In Wisconsin, yellow perch are raised either in outdoor ponds or in indoor recirculating systems. Some farms are beginning to use yellow perch in aquaponic systems as well.