Other Names: The European seabass, Dicentrarchus labrax, also known as Morone labrax. It is also known as the sea dace in English, loup de mer or bar in French, lavraki in Greek, branzino or spigola in Italian, and lubina in Spanish
Range & Habitat: Its habitats include estuaries, lagoons, coastal waters and rivers. It is found in the waters in and around Europe, including the eastern Atlantic Ocean (from Norway to Senegal), the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.
Identification & Biology: The European seabass is a member of the Moronidae family. The name Dicentrarchus derives from the presence of two dorsal fins. It has silver sides and white belly. Youngs maintain black spots on the upper and sides for some times, a feature that can create confusion with the other specie, Dicentrarchus puntatus. This fish's operculum is serrated and spined. It can grow to a total length of over 3.3 ft and 15 kg of weight. It is mostly a night hunter, feeding on small fish, annelids, cephalopods and crustaceans.
Market Description: The fish has come under increasing pressure from commercial fishing and has recently become the focus in the United Kingdom of a conservation effort by recreational anglers. In Italy the seabass is subject of intensive breeding in salt waters. Of all farmed marine species bass farming is probably the best mastered technique.
The females, which grow more than the males, reach their sexual maturity at 3 years of age, and they can lay egg spontaneously in captivity. By modifying the rearing temperature and the duration of the day, it is possible to make them lay eggs several times throughout the year. The bass is sold as a whole fresh fish. Most of the production targets portion size fish of about 300 to 500 g.
Buying Tips: This fish is most commonly sold whole. The bass fillets, sold frozen are almost always produced from the Anarhichas lupus, a very different family of species fished in the North Sea, and with a lower commercial value.
Recommended Preparation: Due to the fish’s low fat content, the best methods for preparation are steaming, baking or sautéing. The fish can be grilled, but requires care since the flesh has a tendency to dry out quickly.