Beware the "impostor fish"

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The PERCH MAN ABN 42 065 149 145

It looks like a jade perch, but it does NOT have aquaculture and table qualities of genuine jade perch. It is chewy, tough, impossible to eat ! Locally it is known as the "leathery grunter". Called leathery grunter because it is like chewing a piece of leather. One bite will last you all day. Check for yourself. Google scortum species. or leathery grunter.


LEFT  This map shows the distribution of all the scortum species. Only the species from the Barcoo River is proven to have aquaculture qualities that can be trusted.

RIGHT This map shows, in red, the Lake Eyre Basin. The only place genuine jade perch come from.

Lake Eyre and Murray Darling Fitzroy Dawson basins

Even the Perch Man can't tell them apart. THEY LOOK THE SAME. These pictures are scortum hillii. Can you pick the difference?

Leathery grunter 1  scortumhillii  Leathery grunter 3

The environment where the leathery grunter are native to, (See picture below.) is generally less hostile compared to the natural habitat of the jade perch. Otherwise their appearance, diet, and water quality is essentially very similar. They even make the same grunting sound. The common name of the jade perch in the region they are found is often black bream, but the local people where the Scortum hillii are found call them leathery grunter !

Also pictured below is a cohabitant of the same water with the Scortum hillii, a large fork-tail catfish. There are similar fish to the leathery grunter right across the east coast and the top end of Australia. Beware of the impostor fish. Only purchase fingerlings or fry from a reputable hatchery with the experience to know the difference. It is expensive to grow a whole crop of fish, only to find out they are not suitable for the table.

Other scortum species are found across the northern tropicts of Australia. Scortum Whitley,  Scortum ogilbyi, Scortum-neili, Scortum parviceps etc.. None of these fish have proven aquaculture qualities. Nore are they proven to be suitable as table fish, rather, the opposite like the leathery grunter. Most of the east coast and northern river basins in these parts of Australia are  good environments for fish. In other words, life for fish in those rivers is easy. Only the Lake Eyre Basin has the hostile environment where life as a fish is difficult. The Barcoo River, where ALL my breeders originate from is a hard place to survive. These fish MUST have special qualities to survive. This is what surely makes them ideal for aquaculture. Beware of fry or fingerlings that are not from a trusted hatchery. Only scortum barcoo have the track record of being ideal table and aquaculture species.


Habitat of leathery grunter 

Above left the Dawson River is the home of Scortum hillii. Above right John Austin with a large forktail catfish.