Common name: Sea bream
Latin name: Six species are found in British coastal waters, the most common being the black bream , Spondyliosom cantharus, and the red sea bream, Pagellus bogaraveo.
Record weight: Sea bream are relatively small fish, although make a sporting alternative for the light line enthusiast. The black bream records are 6lb 14oz 4 drams from a boat and 5lb 2 drams from the shore. The red bream record is 9lb 8oz 12 drams from a boat and 4lb 7oz from the shore.
Distribution: Sea bream tend to be summer visitors to the British Isles. These principally warm water fish can be found off the South and West coasts when the weather is warm. This is because the British Isles is right on the outermost fringe of the bream's range with them being much more abundant towards the Mediterranean. Numbers of bream have been diminished across their range as they are a highly prized food fish. Sea bream are mainly found over lightly broken ground.
Features: Despite their name, sea bream do not particularly resemble their freshwater name-sakes. These small fish are deep bodied with a long spined dorsal fin. The black bream is actually more silver on the flanks, with a dark back. The red bream has a red back with a large black spot above the pectoral fin.
Diet: Sea bream have a reputation for being delicate feeders. This is probably owing to their preference for small shrimps and polycheate worms, which are delicate prey. These fish have a small mouth, not suited to taking baits much more than 4cm in length, or 10cm for a worm.
Spawning: Sea bream spawn in the late spring in relatively shallow water. The eggs hatch in around two weeks and are fertilised externally. The young fish live close to the surface drifting on the current and can travel many hundreds of miles from the area inhabited by their parents. The young fish spend their early years living close to the surface feeding upon zooplankton before moving to the sea bed as they mature.