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Barcoo Grunter / Jade Perch (Scortum barcoo)

Barcoo grunter is one of Australia’s many grunters. It is a heavily built fish with a small head. They are generally uniformly brownish-black. The fins are usually darker in colour than the body. These fish can be distinguished by their anal fin which has 8 rays. The Barcoo grunter can grow to 35cm.

Barcoo grunter is a freshwater species and has a wide distribution. It takes its name from the Barcoo River & ranges from the Gilbert River and its tributaries in northern Queensland, to the Cooper Creek and Lake Eyre drainage of central Australia and through the Bulloo and Bancannia Rivers, Barkley Basin, Limmen Bight, Roper and Macarthur regions of the Northern Territory. Hatchery-reared fingerlings have been stocked at Jericho Waterholes, Jericho.

Confusing Species
Barcoo grunter closely resemble two other terapontid species found in adjoining drainage’s of the Murray-Darling system. These are the Welch’s grunter (Bidyanus welchi) and the Silver perch (Bidyanus bidyanus).
The way to pick a Barcoo grunter from a Welch's grunter or Silver perch, is commonly easy. The Barcoo grunter commonly have one or more black spots on their sides that the Welch's grunter & Silver perch dont. However Barcoo grunter occasionally lack any spots at all.

In Qld a combined bag limit of 10 fish, comprising any combination of Barcoo Grunter, Silver perch & Welch's grunter is permitted in possession. (Combined due to the confusion between species)
Minimum size limit = 30cm

In recent years Barcoo Grunter have been successfully bred for the aquarium trade & for human consumption. They are marketted as Jade Perch. The species is proving to be a superiour table species compared to some other Australian native fish with higher growth rates and containing high levels of Emega 3 fatty acids. For enquiries about purchasing Barcoo Grunter / Jade Perch contact the Ausyfish Pty Ltd at Email.

Click for a larger image of Barcoo Grunter Silver Perch above. Barcoo Grunter below Click for a larger image of Barcoo Grunter Click for a larger image of Barcoo Grunter
The above images show the variation in coloration. The 2nd image from the left shows a Silver Perch above & Barcoo Grunter below.

Some of the above information & images courtesy - Qld PDI&F, Ausyfish Pty Ltd & Rod Harrison

Copyright© 2004 Garry Fitzgerald. Sweetwater Fishing Australia