Silver Perch

Bidyanus bidyanus

Other names: Bidyan, black bream, black perch, bream, freshwater bream, grunter, Murray perch, silver, tcheri.

Family: Terapontidae (grunters).


A dark silver-grey freshwater fish with small, black edged scales and a relatively small mouth. The largest member of the grunter family, its natural habitat is most of the Murray-Darling system, where it prefers open, fast-moving water. It is endemic to Australia and is now only commercially available farmed.

Season: Available year round.

Size and Weight: Commonly 450g-1.5kg and 25-40cm, but can grow to 8kg and 70cm.

Price: Medium priced.


There are 50 or so freshwater and marine grunters found in Australian waterways, the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean, including barcoo (Scortum barcoo), crescent (Terapon jarbua), gulf (Scortum ogilbyi), leathery (Scortum hillii), sooty (Hephaestus fuliginosus), Welch's (Bidyanus welchi), western striped (Pelates octolineatus) and yellowtail (Amniataba caudavittata) grunters and spangled perch (Leiopotherapon unicolor), all of which are sold under the name striped perch.

To Buy:

Sold whole (gilled and gutted) and fillet forms. In whole fish look for lustrous skin with a slippery, mucilaginous coating, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh smell. In fillets, look for creamy-white, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh smell.

To Store:

Make sure whole fish is scaled, gilled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Lay whole fish and fillets in a single layer on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 45%. Has a delicate flavour, high oiliness and medium-textured flesh that can be dry if overcooked, with fine flakes and few bones which are easily removed. The skin is usually removed. Score whole fish at the thickest part of the flesh. Cut thick fillets into serving-size portions to allow even heat penetration.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, grill, barbecue. It is best wrapped in foil or banana leaves if baking or barbecuing, to prevent it drying out. A good plate-sized fish cooked whole, it needs to be cooked through or it will have a very soft texture.

Goes well with:

Chilli, coriander, cumin, curry leaves, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, green onions, lemon, lime, mint, mirin, olive oil, olives, onion, parsley, sesame oil, soy sauce, tomatoes.


Barramundi, bream, golden perch, silver trevally.




Barbecued Silver Perch Fillets with Eggplant & Tomato Salsa >