Latin: Spondyliosoma Cantharus
English: Black Seabream
French: La Dorade Grise
Italian: La Tanuta, Cantaro
Spanish: La Chopa
Croatian: Kantar, Kantrica, Sivac
Photo with permission by Miro Andric, Hrvatsko Podmorje - Croatia's Undersea World
About: The Black Seabream (Spondyliosoma Cantharus) is a species of Sparidae fishes. The fish body is ovoid, relatively deep. The profile of the head above the eye is slightly depressed.
The snout is short with each jaw having 4-6 rows of conical and rather slender teeth. The outer teeth are enlarged, especially in front of jaw.
Cheek and opercle have scales, while preopercle is scaleless.
Color is silvery grey with bluish, greenish and pinkish tints. Interorbital space and snout are darker, sometimes almost black, depending on the viewing angle. On the sides, longitudinal golden stripes are not continuous from head to tail.
The young specimen may have some dark vertical bands. Adult males are blueish with dark bands on the back and head and a dark spot on the eye. Another coloring pattern (most common in Atlantic fish) of the male is very dark gray with a pair of vertical white stripes on the body.
Maximum length is ~60 cm (slightly less than 2 feet/24 inches) and maximum weight is 2.5 kg (~5.5 pounds).
It is gregarious fish and it can be found in large schools, especially during spawning period.
It spawns from February to May, but this also depends on the location. The Black Seabream is a hermaphroditic, protogynous fish - meaning females change to males at length of approximately 24.3 cm (~9.6 inches), although females were found up to a total length of 37.7 cm (~14.5 inches).
It is a relatively long-lived species, with the oldest male and female specimens were estimated to be 14 and 9 years old respectively.
The Black Seabream is omnivorous species, feeding on seaweeds, algae and small invertebrates, especially crustaceans.
Habitat: The Black Seabream occurs in the eastern Atlantic from Scandinavia to Angola, Madeira, Canary Islands and
Cape Verde Islands.
It is not common in the Black Sea, but can be often found in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea.
Black Seabream is a common fish of inshore waters on rocky or sandy bottom and Posidonia beds at depths from just a few meters, down to 50 m (juveniles) and even down to 300 m (adults).
The Black Seabream photo from Wikipedia, author Gronk.
Fishing period: The Black Seabream can be caught year long, especially during warmer months, day and night.
Fishing rigs and tackle: Small specimen gather in larger groups over rocky and sandy bottoms near the shore and are not very picky regarding the bait. Larger specimen will gladly accept prawns, live or not, but also smaller chunks of fish meat, squid and similar.
Most common fishing technique is rod and reel, hand-line (especially smaller specimen), longline, but also, although rarely, it can be caught while trolling slowly using live prawns (or lure in the shape of prawns) near the bottom.
Note: when hooked, the Black Seabream is not very active fish - it can be recognized by the line weight and strong strike from time to time.
When larger school is found, use chum of small sardine chunks (or any other fish, squids, prawns, shrimps ...) to keep the school active and feeding - in that situation, fishing can be very successful.
Cuisine: The Black Seabream is not considered as ultimate delicacy. Nonetheless, white meat is soft, tender and when prepared properly, it has very good taste. Larger specimen are barbecued, and served with olive oil, parsley, and garlic. Smaller specimen are often pan fried.
Also, it can be prepared in mixed fish stew, fish soup etc.