Gilt Head Bream (Sparus aurata) – Profile | Biology | Facts

gilt head bream
(Last Updated On: April 13, 2021)

The gilt head sea bream is a reputable food fish, but catches of wild fish were relatively modest in the Mediterranean area between 6,100 and 9,600 tons in 2000-2009. This article will share facts and information about gilt head bream fish facts and other information.

Gilt Head Bream profile

The gilthead seabream, scientific name Sparus aurata is known in ancient times as Orata, and is still a fish of the Sparidi’s bream family found in the Mediterranean and eastern coastal regions of Italy (in Spain when “Dorda”) is in the North Atlantic Ocean.

It reaches about 35 centimeters (1.15 ft) in length but can weigh 70 centimeters (2.3 ft) and weighs about 7.36 kilograms (16.2 lbs).

Gilt head bream is generally regarded as the best-tasting of bream. It is a single species of the genus Sparus – the Latin name for this fish – which has given its name to the whole family of Sparidi. Its specific name, Aorta, is derived from the gold bar marked in the eye.

The genome of the species was published in 2018, where the authors identified the rapid evolution of ovarian-biased genes probably as a result of the species’ strange breeding mode.

Traditionally, gilthead seabream was cultured extensively in coastal lagoons and brackish ponds, notably in valliculture in northern Italy and in esteros in southern Spain.

In the Nineteen Eighties, nevertheless, gilthead seabream was reproduced efficiently in captivity and intensive rearing techniques had been developed, particularly in sea cages.

Gilthead seabream, whose name refers to a golden band on its head, has grown to be one among European aquaculture’s predominant fish species.

Body oval, reasonably deep and compressed. Head profile frequently curved. Eye small. Mouth low, very barely oblique. Lips thick. Four to six canine-like teeth anteriorly in every jaw, adopted posteriorly by blunter teeth which grow to be progressively molar-like and are organized in 2 to 4 rows (teeth within the 2 outer rows stronger).

Total gill rakers on first arch quick, 11 to 13, 7 or 8 lower, and 5 (hardly ever 4) to 6 uppers. Dorsal fin with 11 spines and 13 to 14 mushy rays. Anal with 3 spines and 11 or 12 mushy rays.

Cheeks scaly, preopercle scaleless. Scales alongside lateral traces 73 to 85. Colour silvery gray; a big black blotch at origien of a lateral line extending on the higher-margin of opercle the place it’s edged under by a reddish space; a golden frontal band between eyes edged by two darkish areas (not effectively outlined in younger people); darkish longitudinal traces usually present on sides of the body; a darkish band on dorsal fin; fork and ideas of caudal fin edged with black.

Gilthead bream (also referred to as gilthead seabream) is a southern species on the far north of their range within the English channel. Stocks of Gilthead seabream are understudied however there’s at the moment no proof to counsel that they’re being overfished. They are hardly ever focused commercially by fishermen in Cornwall though some are caught by anglers.

Most Gilthead seabream seen in fishmongers and eating places is farmed Gilthead seabream that are imported from Greece and different Mediterranean countries.


Traditionally, gilthead seabream was cultured extensively in coastal lagoons and saltwater ponds, till intensive rearing techniques had been developed through the Nineteen Eighties.

The Italian ‘vallicoltura’ or the Egyptian ‘hosha’ are in-depth fish rearing techniques that act like natural fish traps, benefiting from the natural trophic migration of juveniles from the ocean into coastal lagoons.

Gilthead seabream is a really appropriate species for in-depth aquaculture within the Mediterranean, as a consequence of its good market worth, high survival rate, and feeding habits (that are comparatively low within the meals chain).

Artificial breeding was efficiently achieved in Italy in 1981-82 and large-scale manufacturing of gilthead seabream juveniles was definitively achieved in 1988-1989 in Spain, Italy, and Greece.

The hatchery manufacturing and farming of this fish are among the success tales of the aquaculture business. This species in a short time demonstrated high adaptability to intensive rearing situations, each in ponds and cages, and its annual manufacturing elevated frequently till 2000 when it reached a peak of over 87 000 tonnes.


Sparus aurata is widespread within the Mediterranean Sea, present alongside the Eastern Atlantic coasts from Great Britain to Senegal, and uncommon within the Black Sea.

Due to its euryhaline and eurythermal habits, the species is present in each marine and brackishwater environment similar to coastal lagoons and estuarine areas, particularly through the preliminary levels of its life cycle.

Born within the open sea throughout October-December, juveniles usually migrate in early spring in the direction of protected coastal waters, the place they’ll discover considerable trophic sources and milder temperatures.

Very delicate to low temperatures (lower deadly restrict is 4 °C), in late autumn they return to the open sea, the place the adult fish breed. In the open sea, gilthead seabream is normally discovered on rocky and seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) meadows, however, it’s also continuously caught on sandy grounds.

Young fish stay in comparatively shallow areas (as much as 30 m), whereas adults can attain deeper waters, typically not more than 50 m. This species is a protandrous hermaphrodite.

Sexual maturity develops in males at 2 years of age (20-30 cm) and in females at 2-3 years (33-40 cm). Females are batch spawners that may lay 20 000-80 000 eggs day-after-day for an interval of as much as 4 months. In captivity, sex reversal is conditioned by social and hormonal components.


Healthy broodstock was chosen for its natural setting. Nowadays, seabream eggs are most frequently obtained from fish reared in fish farms.

It is important to watch the variety of men and women every spawning season as a result of this hermaphroditic fish modifications sex throughout its lifetime: male for the first three years, the feminine for the remainder of its life. Adult fish are ready for spawning via photomanipulation (controlling the size of daylight).

The male fertilizes the feminine’s eggs, which float on the water’s floor. They are then collected and transported to incubation tanks, the place they hatch 48 hours later.


Gilthead seabream is consumed in ‘portions’ and will be marketed in several sizes. They normally weigh between 400 and 600 g and are bought recently, entire, or eviscerated.

The predominant markets are Italy and Spain, however, this fish is more and more prized in northern Europe. With current markets beginning to present indicators of saturation, newly processed merchandise is being developed, together with giant specimens of more than 1 kg (for eating places) and filleted or frozen merchandise.


It is usually found at depths of 5-7 meters (0-98 feet) but can be seen up to 150 meters (490 feet), alone or in small groups near the sea or under the sand, but sometimes in the spring.

It feeds mainly on shellfish but also has some plant material.

gilthead bream (Sparus aurata)

Fisheries and aquaculture

The gilthead seabream is a reputable food fish, but catches of wild fish were relatively modest in the Mediterranean area between 6,100 and 9,600 tons in 2000-2009. Also, gilthead seawater ream has been extensively cultured in coastal lagoons and saline reservoirs.

However, intensive rearing was undertaken during the decade of ০০০ and gilthead seabream has become an important aquaculture species in the Mediterranean.

The reported production was negligible until the 1980s, but reached 140,000 tonnes in 2010, thus dwarfing coal fisheries production. Greece is Europe’s largest producer of seawater, followed by Turkey.

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