African snook (Nile akame or Nile perch)

a photo of African snook

The appearance of African snook

Common name: African snook, Nile perch, Victoria perch

Japanese name: ナイルパーチ

Scientific name: Lates niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Nigiri sushi detail: African snook Nigiri sushi

Remarks: Substitute fish for Goldstriped amberjack


African snook (Nile akame or Nile perch) is found in West, Central, and East Africa. It is a freshwater fish found in rivers, lakes, and waterways. It is native to the Nile River. Its body color is dark blue-gray on the dorsal side and silver-gray on the ventral side. The body length reaches up to 2 meters. It is closely related to the Japanese lates (Akame). It was formerly distributed under the names Shirosuzuki, Suzuki, Torosuzuki, Hirasuzuki, Ginhirasu, and Okihirasu. In conveyor-belt sushi, it is sometimes used as a substitute for Goldstriped amberjack (Hiramasa) and other high-end white fish.

African snook (Nile akame or Nile perch) is in high demand as an inexpensive, thick-fleshed fish with no peculiar flavor. Until a decade ago, Nile perch was the most popular fried white fish for take-out lunches. Ethiopian and Victorian Nile perch are imported to Japan.

It is an important catch in Lake Victoria in East Africa, and at the same time is the cause of a serious invasive species problem.

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