Good Fish Guide
Bream, Black or porgy or seabream
Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Demersal otter trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Cornwall
Stock detail - VIIe,f,g and h
Fish type - White round fish
Sustainability overviewFind out more at the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide
A member of a group of fish known as Sparidae, the black bream is one of two species commonly found in northern European seas. Found off south-west Britain and east Ireland in the English Channel and the Irish Sea. Spawning occurs in April and May in a number of inshore waters, such as the English Channel. Black bream are unusual in that they are sequential hermaphrodites (undergoing a sex change during their lives), maturing as females at a length of 23cm, then as males at around 30cm. All fish over 40cm are males. The maximum reported age, length and weight are 15 years, 60cm and 1.2kg respectively.They are found over seagrass beds and rocky and sandy bottoms between about 5m to 300m. Black bream lay eggs in a nest that the male has excavated on sand with its tail. The larger the female, the more fecund or more eggs she lays, e.g. a female of 18.5cm will lay aroud 31,000 eggs compared to a female of 33.5cm which lays around to 554,000 eggs. Gregarious, sometimes in large schools. Omnivorous, feeding on seaweeds and small invertebrates, especially crustaceans. Likely predators on black bream eggs are clawed crustaceans. Adult black bream have few predators, however a few are likely to be taken by seabirds and marine mammals. An important food fish.
There is a lack of adequate management measures for the conservation of black bream. Black bream may receive some protection from the EU fixed net technical measure which requires a mesh size of at least 220mm where catches comprise 70% or more seabream. In EU waters no Minimum Landing Size is specified for the species. However, in some Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) Districts e.g. Cornwall, Sussex, North Western and North Wales, local bylaws prohibit landing of seabream below 23 cm. But as a consequence of their changes in sex, a MLS of 23cm does not protect 100% of the juveniles and many will be caught before they have matured and spawned. Sussex IFCA also enforces mesh regulations and closed areas during the spawning season. As black seabream are sequential hermaphrodites (changing from female to male with age), as well as a minimum landing size, a maximum landing size of 40cm may also benefit the species as this will allow protection for mature males as well as mature females. The species spawning behavioural traits make the species especially vulnerable to bottom trawling. Their being sequential hermaphrodites is also a cause for concern as the stock requires a balanced age structure to reproduce successfully. The fact that males show significant paternal investment in creating and guarding eggs also emphasises the need for conservation of an appropriate sex ratio. Seasonal closures, such as those in Sussex, to protect spawning fish are required.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below . Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.
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