Black BreamCommon names: Bream, Silver Bream.
Minimum size: 25cm.
Possession limit: 10. Possession limits apply everywhere, including the home.
Black bream are silver, bronze to blackish green, with a white chin and belly. The fins are greenish black with a darker margin. One of only two species of the family Sparidae found in Tasmanian waters, the other being the snapper.
They grow to around 60cm and over 3.5kg with a maximum age of around 17 years, however bream growth rates vary considerably depending on the locality they inhabit.
In Victoria, research on 3 year old bream shows that the length of fish at this age can vary between 6 and 16cm depending on different river systems.
Female bream can produce between 300,000 and 3 million eggs during the spawning season. Spawning in Tasmania runs from spring through to mid-summer.
Bream are most commonly found in estuaries and lower reaches of rivers, predominantly on the East Coast of Tasmania. They have the ability to cope with a wide range of salinity levels, and may sometimes be found in totally fresh water.
Bream are one of the most popular angling species in Tasmania with a number of fishing competitions run each year targeting this species. They are good fighters on light gear. Popular baits include sandworms, prawns, crabs, and pilchards. Lures and flies are also productive. They prefer baits presented unweighted on the bottom and will tend to seek sheltered and snaggy areas when hooked.
Flesh of this species is firm, white and lightly flavoured. When catching bream for eating, please consider the water quality of where the bream is taken. The Director of Public Health and the Derwent Estuary Program advises people to avoid eating bream caught in the Derwent Estuary and Browns River due to heavy metal levels. Read more on current public health warnings.
Black bream are opportunistic feeders, consuming both plant and animal species. Common food items include: pipis, oysters, crabs, worms, shrimps and small fish.
Care needs to be exercised when handling black bream as they are armed with very sharp dorsal and anal spines capable of inflicting a deep wound. The spines are not venomous.
Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe
Tasmania Online | Service Tasmania
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