Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gilt Head Sea Bream, Sparus Aurata.

The Gilt-Head Sea bream "Sparus aurata" is common in the Mediterranean Sea, present along the Eastern Atlantic coasts from Great Britain to Senegal, and rare in the Black Sea. 

It commonly reaches about 35 centimeters (1.15 ft) in length, but may reach 70 centimeters (2.3 ft) and weigh up to about 17 kilograms (37 lb).

Traditionally, gilt-head sea bream were cultured extensively in coastal lagoons and saltwater ponds, until intensive rearing systems were developed during the 1980's. The Italian 'vallicoltura' or the Egyptian 'hosha' are extensive fish rearing systems that act like natural fish traps, taking advantage of the natural trophic migration of juveniles from the sea into coastal lagoons. Gilthead seabream are very suitable species for extensive aquaculture in the Mediterranean, due to their good market price, high survival rate and feeding habits (which are relatively low in the food chain).

Gilt-Head Sea Bream Fingerlings. 
Artificial breeding was successfully achieved in Italy in 1981-82 and large-scale production of gilthead seabream juveniles was definitively achieved in 1988-1989 in Spain, Italy and Greece. The hatchery production and farming of this fish is one of the success stories of the aquaculture business. This species very quickly demonstrated a high adaptability to intensive rearing conditions, both in ponds and cages, and its annual production increased regularly until 2000, when it reached a peak of over 87 000 tonnes.

Inside fish cage.
Usually every hatchery has its own broodstock unit, where breeders of various age groups, from 1 year-old males to 5-year old females, are kept under long-term stocking conditions. Breeders can come either from a farm or from the wild. 

Main producer countries
Most production occurs in the Mediterranean, with Greece (49 percent) being by far the largest producer in 2002. Turkey (15 percent), Spain (14 percent) and Italy (6 percent) are also major Mediterranean producers. In addition, considerable production occurs in Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Malta, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia. There is also gilt-head sea bream production in the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea. Kuwait and Oman are minor producers.

Gilthead seabream is an esteemed food fish, but catches of wild fish have been relatively modest, between 6,100 and 9,600 tonnes in 2000–2009, primarily from the Mediterranean.
Known in Lebanon as Ajaj أجاج, in Egypt as Denis دينيس, in France as Dorade Royal, in Italy as Carina, in Malta as Dorata, in Greece as φαγκρί, in Spain as Dorada and in Turkey as Çipura.



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