Black Sea Bream

Fact File:

Common Name(s):
Black Sea Bream

Scientific Name:
Spondyliosoma cantharus

Usual Size: 35cm

UK Record Weights from rod/line:

5lb-00oz-02dr  Alderney Channel Isles M.Guilmoto 1994

6lb-14oz-04dr Devon Wreck J.A.Garlick 1977

MAFF Minimum Size: Shore:   Boat:  

Deep laterally flattened body, with large scales, that are also present upon the head. Single long dorsal fin, who's anterior portion is composed of 11 spines, with the posterior formed of 13 to 14 soft branched rays. The anal fin is approximately half the length of the dorsal fin (although shorter than the Red Sea Bream), and has 3 spines at it's anterior that is then composed of 11 to 12 branched rays. The head is small with large eyes, and a small low set mouth. The teeth are small and slightly curved, whilst being sharp and pointed. There is a gradation in size of the dentition from front to back.
The top of the head and body is a darkish blue grey to black that blends into the metallic silver grey of the sides. Six or seven dusky vertical bands are often to be seen on the sides, along with horizontal streaks of golden brown.

Nest builders, normally in a sandy substrate. Spawning during April to May, with the eggs being guarded by the male.

This the second commonest member of this family, likely to be encountered in UK waters.
A bottom to lower water shoaling fish, most often associated with rocky/weedy ground, along with reefs and wrecks.

Bottom dwelling invertebrates and crustaceans, along with encrusted algae and small fish, make up the bulk of their diet.

Commonest in the South and West , until around September, although tending to be local in occurrence. Rarely seen in the Northern waters of the UK, this is a Summer migratory fish, that may move eastwards along the English Channel, and arrive by mid April to the Sussex region.

Additional Notes:
Fair eating.

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