Black Bream

Other names: bream, silver bream

Scientific name: Acanthopagrus butcheri

Minimum size: 25 cm  

Bag limit: 5  

Possession limit: 10  

Rules: No spearing

Identifying features: Black bream have a deep body with a single dorsal fin, sharply rounded snout with a moderate size mouth that reaches back level with the eye.  They are a silvery bronze to blackish green, with a white chin and belly.  The fins are greenish black with a darker margin.  Closely related to snapper.

Grows to: Up to 60 cm and 3.5 kg.

Habitat: Bream are commonly found in coastal lagoons, estuaries and rivers over weed, sand or rocky bottom.  They may aggregate around submerged structures, such as bridge footings, fallen trees, oyster racks, moorings and rocks.  Highly mobile, they migrate considerable distances and travel the length of estuaries during tidal changes.  They can cope with a wide range of salinity and migrate into fresh water in large numbers during the spawning season.

Fishing information: Bream are a popular angling species in Tasmania with a number of fishing competitions targeting them run each year.  They are good fighters on light gear.  Fishing methods vary between bait fishing, hard body or soft plastic lures and fly fishing.  Popular baits include prettyfish, sandworms, clams, crabs and pilchards.  They prefer baits unweighted on the bottom and will tend to seek sheltered and snaggy areas when hooked.  

Responsible fishing tips: Black bream have a relatively high survival rate when released so this is a common practice with many fishers.  Use wet hands or cloth when handling and remove hooks using pliers or forceps.

Handling: Care needs to be exercised when handling black bream as they are armed with sharp dorsal and anal spines capable of inflicting a deep wound.  The spines are not venomous.

Public Health advice:
The Director of Public Health advises people not to eat bream caught in the Derwent Estuary and Browns River due to heavy metal contamination.

Cooking: The flavour and flesh of bream can vary considerably depending on catch location and season.  Suitable to steam, pan-fry, bake, grill or barbeque.

Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe
Fish for the Future