Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)

Sparus auratus

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Europe
Production method — Open net pen
Picture of Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)

Sustainability rating four info

Sustainability overview

Updated: November 2019

European union and Turkey are primary producers of farmed Gilthead seabream. Bream are generally farmed in open sea pens and are fed a diet reliant on wild fish capture as a key ingredient. Bream farmed in this way can cause some environmental concerns, including escaped farmed fish and the data surrounding escapes; interactions between escaped and wild fish; use of chemicals, in particular antibiotics and farm level data relating to their use and some remaining concerns surrounding enforcement and regulatory controls. Bream are carnivorous fish that require more fish in their diet than farming them actually produces, leading to a net loss of marine proteins and oils. The fish used to produce their feed cannot be assured to be sourced from a sustainable supply. Independently certified (ASC, GlobalGap, GAA BAP 3*4) gilthead seabream address some of these problems.

Feed Resources

Criterion score: -2 info

The majority of aquaculture feeds used by EU and Turkish producers of European seabass, gilthead seabream and meagre are produced by suppliers that have a responsible feed sourcing policy, however the implementation of this cannot be verified in these countries. The majority of terrestrial inputs used in the formulation of these diets is traceable to the country of origin, however the responsible sourcing of these cannot be assured at this time. The Feed Fish Dependency Ratio for this species currently indicates that more fish protein is required in the diet than these fish produce, making them a net consumer of fish rather than a net producer.

Environmental Impacts

Criterion score: -2 info

The European seabass, gilthead seabream and meagre sectors in the EU and Turkey are reliant on hatchery raised juveniles. Broodstock are typically comprised of domesticated stocks, although a few wild parent fish are occasionally sourced to add genetic diversity. Marine net pen culture systems inevitably discharge fish wastes directly into the aquatic environment, however farms across the region typically remain within regulatory limits with regards to such discharges. While disease outbreaks can and do occur, these do not appear to present any population-level threats to wild species in the region. Conclusive, science-based evidence of parasitic transfer from farmed fish to adjacent wild species is notoriously hard to prove and has rarely been documented. This means there is a high degree of uncertainty around this issue, however, there is currently a great deal of ongoing research effort directed at this topic, which will likely help develop new policies and mitigation strategies in the near future. Despite the existence of regulations governing the sector’s chemical use, there is a lack of transparency concerning the quantities of antibiotics that are used by the sector, since farm-level data collection across the EU and Turkey has not yet been implemented. This is of particular concern since antibiotics that are critically and highly important to human health are evidently approved for use by the sector. Another area where farm-level data collection is presently lacking pertains to the reporting of escape events. Open net pens are clearly vulnerable to large escape events as well as frequent trickle losses, and it is clear from insurance claims that escapes account for a great deal of reported losses. Despite this, there are no mandatory escape reporting requirements in place. This is of particular concern given the potential risk of genetic introgression that escapees pose should they interbreed with wild fish.

Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion score: -1 info

The slaughter method predominantly employed by European seabass, gilthead seabream and meagre farmers is to kill fish by immersion in an icy slurry at the time of harvest. In 2009, the European Food Safety Authority recommended that electrical stunning be urgently adopted as a more humane industry practice. Despite this advice, which has since been echoed by other welfare organisations, humane slaughter requirements still remain absent in legislation governing the sector.

Management

Criterion score: 1 info

Although the regulatory framework governing the European seabass, gilthead seabream and meagre sector in the EU and Turkey is fairly robust, there are still some shortfalls with regard to effective mitigation of negative environmental impacts. Policy makers across the geographic scope of this assessment have made considerable progress toward an effective inter-regional governance strategy for the aquaculture sector over the last few decades; this has been a formidable task, given that a total of 21 countries border the Mediterranean. The primary areas where governance needs strengthened pertain to the sector’s escape event reporting requirements - or the lack thereof, as well as the present lack of transparency concerning antibiotic use. Since antibiotics that are considered to be critically or highly important for human medicine are approved for use by the aquaculture sector in the EU and Turkey, the absence of mandatory farm-level data collection requirements is a cause for concern, particularly in light of the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Production method

Open net pen

Farming in open net pens allows for interaction with the surrounding environment and, as such, has to be managed in such a way as to minimise negative environmental and ecological impacts.

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Cod, Pacific Cod
Coley, Saithe
Haddock
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish, White
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)
Tilapia

Biology

Gilthead bream can grow to a length of 70cm and live for as long as 11 years. It is a sedentary species found in depths of up to 150m. Spawning occurs between November and December.

References

"AE. 2014. Aquaculture Europe Workshop: Performance of the sea bass and sea bream sector in the Mediterranean (BJORN MYRSETH), 16 October 2014.

https://www.aquaeas.eu/news/311-ae2014-performance-of-the-sea-bass-and-sea-bream-sector

AquaSpace. 2018a. AquaSpace Case Study Mediterranean Sea, Multiple EEZ: Issues and Tools http://www.aquaspace-h2020.eu/?page_id=12754

Arechavala-Lopez P, Toledo-Guedes K, Izquierdo-Gomez D, Segvic-Bubic T, Sanchez-Jerez P. 2017a. Implications of Sea Bream and Sea Bass Escapes for Sustainable Aquaculture Management: A Review of Interactions, Risks and Consequences, Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture, Volume 26, 2018 - Issue 2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23308249.2017.1384789

Arechavala-Lopez P, Uglem I, Izquierdo-Gomez D, Fernandez-Jover D, Sanchez- Jerez P. 2017b. Rapid dispersion of escaped meagre (Argyrosomus regius) from a coastal Mediterranean fish farm. Aquac. Res. 48, 1502-1512https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290325323_Rapid_dispersion_of_escaped_meagre_Argyrosomus_regius_from_a_coastal_Mediterranean_fish_farm

Arechavala-Lopez P, Sanchez-Jerez P, Bayle-Sempere JT, Uglem I, Mladineo I. 2013. Reared fish, farmed escapees and wild fish stocks - a triangle of pathogen transmission of concern to Mediterranean aquaculture management. Aquacult Environ Interact 3: 153-161, 2013AE. 2014. Aquaculture Europe Workshop: Performance of the sea bass and sea bream sector in the Mediterranean (BJORN MYRSETH), 16 October 2014. https://www.aquaeas.eu/news/311-ae2014-performance-of-the-sea-bass-and-sea-bream-sector

AquaSpace. 2018a. AquaSpace Case Study Mediterranean Sea, Multiple EEZ: Issues and Tools http://www.aquaspace-h2020.eu/?page_id=12754

Arechavala-Lopez P, Toledo-Guedes K, Izquierdo-Gomez D, Segvic-Bubic T, Sanchez-Jerez P. 2017a. Implications of Sea Bream and Sea Bass Escapes for Sustainable Aquaculture Management: A Review of Interactions, Risks and Consequences, Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture, Volume 26, 2018 -Issue 2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23308249.2017.1384789

Arechavala-Lopez P, Uglem I, Izquierdo-Gomez D, Fernandez-Jover D, Sanchez- Jerez P. 2017b. Rapid dispersion of escaped meagre (Argyrosomus regius) from a coastal Mediterranean fish farm. Aquac. Res. 48, 1502-1512 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290325323_Rapid_dispersion_of_escaped_meagre_Argyrosomus_regius_from_a_coastal_Mediterranean_fish_farm

Arechavala-Lopez P, Sanchez-Jerez P, Bayle-Sempere JT, Uglem I, Mladineo I. 2013. Reared fish, farmed escapees and wild fish stocks - a triangle of pathogen transmission of concern to Mediterranean aquaculture management. Aquacult Environ Interact 3: 153-161, 2013 http://www.int-res.com/articles/aei2013/3/q003p153.pdf

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Brown C, Miltiadou D, Tsigenopoulos CS. 2015. Prevalence and survival of escaped European seabass Dicentrarchus labrax in Cyprus identified using genetic markers. Aquaculture Environment Interactions, 7: 49-59. https://www.int-res.com/articles/aei2015/7/q007p049.pdf

CWF. 2018. Compassion in World Farming - Humane Slaughter: Gilthead sea bream and European sea bas https://www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com/media/7434843/humane-slaughter-european-sea-bass-and-gilthead-sea-bream.pdf

Cagirgan H. 2009. The use of veterinary drugs and vaccines in Turkey. In: Rogers C. (ed.), Basurco B. (ed.). The use of veterinary drugs and vaccines in Mediterranean aquaculture. Zaragoza: CIHEAM, 2009. p. 29-34 (Options Mediterraneennes: Serie A. Seminaires Mediterraneens; n. 86) http://om.ciheam.org/om/pdf/a86/00801059.pdf

Cardia F, Lovatelli A. 2007. A review of cage aquaculture: Mediterranean Sea, pp. 156-187. In: Cage Aquaculture - Regional Reviews and Global Overview, FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 498 (Halwart, M., Soto, D., and Arthur, J.R. Eds.). Rome: FAO(2007).http://www.fao.org/3/a1290e/a1290e07.pdf

Castric J, Thiery R, Jeffroy J, de Kinkelin P, Raymond JC. 2011. Sea bream Sparus aurata, an asymptomatic contagious fish host for nodavirus - Dis Aquat Org 47: 33-38, 2001 https://www.int-res.com/articles/dao/47/d047p033.pdf

Cengizler I, Aytac N, Aldik R. 2017. Biocide Use and its Potential Risks in Aquaculture in Turkey, Eastern Anatolian Journal of Science, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 1-5, 2017. http://dergipark.gov.tr/download/article-file/300793

Cromey CJ, Thetmeyer H, Lampadariou N, Black KD, KOgeler JW, Karakassis I. 2012. MERAMOD: predicting the deposition and benthic impact of aquaculture in the eastern Mediterranean Sea - Aquacult Environ Interact 2: 157-176, 2012 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b419/3922148f6aece3fe5e039ae2a4a74e0c9709.pdf

Crosetti D, & Rossi AR, De Innocentiis S. 2014. GIlthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) - AquaTrace Species leaflet. D.Crosetti, AR. Rossi, S. de Innocentiis (eds) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283906826_GIlthead_sea_bream_Sparus_aurata__AquaTrace_Species_leaflet_DCrosetti_AR_Rossi_S_de_Innocentiis_eds_httpsaquatraceeudocuments80305142567giltheadseabreamleafletpdf

EC. 2019. European Commission: Our Oceans, Seas and Coasts - Legislation: the Marine Strategy Framework Directive*http://ec.europa.eu/environment/marine/eu-coast-and-marine-policy/marine-strategy-framework-directive/index_en.htm

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EC. 2016. European Commission Staff Working Document: On the application of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in relation to aquaculture - Brussels, 18.5.2016 SWD (2016) 178 final http://ec.europa.eu/environment/marine/pdf/SWD_2016_178.pdf

EC. 2013. Regulation (EU) No. 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No. 1954/2003 and (EC) No. 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No. 2371/2002 and (EC) No. 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32013R1380&from=EN

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EFSA. 2009a. Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare on a request from the European Commission on welfare aspect of the main systems of stunning and killing of farmed seabass and seabream. The EFSA Journal (2009) 1010, 1-52https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1010

ESVAC. 2017. European Medicines Agency, European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption, 2017. 'Sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents in 30 European countries in 2015'. (EMA/184855/2017) https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/report/seventh-esvac-report-sales-veterinary-antimicrobial-agents-30-european-countries-2015_en.pdf

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BioMar. 2018. BioMar Group - Sustainability Report 2018 https://www.biomar.com/globalassets/.global/pdf-files-_en/biomar-group-sustainability-report-2018.pdf

Black KD, Pearson TH, KOgeler JW, Thetmeyer H, Karakassis I, White PG. 2002. MERAMED: Development of monitoring guidelines and modelling tools for environmental effects from Mediterraneanaquaculture1.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237704310_MERAMED_Development_of_monitoring_guidelines_and_modelling_tools_for_environmental_effects_from_Mediterranean_aquaculture1

Brown C, Miltiadou D, Tsigenopoulos CS. 2015. Prevalence and survival of escaped European seabass Dicentrarchus labrax in Cyprus identified using genetic markers. Aquaculture Environment Interactions, 7: 49-59.https://www.int-res.com/articles/aei2015/7/q007p049.pdf

CWF. 2018. Compassion in World Farming - Humane Slaughter: Gilthead sea bream and European sea bas https://www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com/media/7434843/humane-slaughter-european-sea-bass-and-gilthead-sea-bream.pdf

Cagirgan H. 2009. The use of veterinary drugs and vaccines in Turkey. In: Rogers C. (ed.), Basurco B. (ed.). The use of veterinary drugs and vaccines in Mediterranean aquaculture. Zaragoza: CIHEAM, 2009. p. 29-34 (Options Mediterraneennes: Serie A. Seminaires Mediterraneens; n. 86)http://om.ciheam.org/om/pdf/a86/00801059.pdf

Cardia F, Lovatelli A. 2007. A review of cage aquaculture: Mediterranean Sea, pp. 156-187. In: Cage Aquaculture - Regional Reviews and Global Overview, FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 498 (Halwart, M., Soto, D., and Arthur, J.R. Eds.). Rome: FAO(2007).http://www.fao.org/3/a1290e/a1290e07.pdf

Castric J, Thiery R, Jeffroy J, de Kinkelin P, Raymond JC. 2011. Sea bream Sparus aurata, an asymptomatic contagious fish host for nodavirus - Dis Aquat Org 47: 33-38, 2001 https://www.int-res.com/articles/dao/47/d047p033.pdf

Cengizler I, Aytac N, Aldik R. 2017. Biocide Use and its Potential Risks in Aquaculture in Turkey, Eastern Anatolian Journal of Science, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 1-5, 2017. http://dergipark.gov.tr/download/article-file/300793

Cromey CJ, Thetmeyer H, Lampadariou N, Black KD, KOgeler JW, Karakassis I. 2012. MERAMOD: predicting the deposition and benthic impact of aquaculture in the eastern Mediterranean Sea - Aquacult Environ Interact 2: 157-176, 2012https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b419/3922148f6aece3fe5e039ae2a4a74e0c9709.pdf

Crosetti D, & Rossi AR, De Innocentiis S. 2014. GIlthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) - AquaTrace Species leaflet. D.Crosetti, AR. Rossi, S. de Innocentiis (eds)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283906826_GIlthead_sea_bream_Sparus_aurata__AquaTrace_Species_leaflet_DCrosetti_AR_Rossi_S_de_Innocentiis_eds_httpsaquatraceeudocuments80305142567giltheadseabreamleafletpdf

EC. 2019. European Commission: Our Oceans, Seas and Coasts - Legislation: the Marine Strategy Framework Directive*http://ec.europa.eu/environment/marine/eu-coast-and-marine-policy/marine-strategy-framework-directive/index_en.htm

EC. 2018b. European Commission - European Seabass factsheet https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/marine_species/farmed_fish_and_shellfish/seabass/

EC. 2018c. European Commission - European Seabream factsheet https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/marine_species/farmed_fish_and_shellfish/seabream_en

EC. 2016. European Commission Staff Working Document: On the application of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in relation to aquaculture - Brussels, 18.5.2016 SWD (2016) 178 final http://ec.europa.eu/environment/marine/pdf/SWD_2016_178.pdf

EC. 2013. Regulation (EU) No. 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No. 1954/2003 and (EC) No. 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No. 2371/2002 and (EC) No. 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EChttps://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32013R1380&from=EN

EC. 2012. European Commission - Guidance document on aquaculture activities in the Natura 2000 Network: Guidance on Aquaculture and Natura 2000 - Sustainable aquaculture activities in the context of the Natura 2000 Network http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/management/docs/Aqua-N2000%20guide.pdf

EC. 2009. European Commission - Criteria and thresholds for requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment in aquaculture https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/sites/fisheries/files/docs/body/environmental-impact-assessment-in-aquaculture_en.pdf

EFSA. 2009a. Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare on a request from the European Commission on welfare aspect of the main systems of stunning and killing of farmed seabass and seabream. The EFSA Journal (2009) 1010, 1-52https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1010

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