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

In Greece, fish farming has emerged as one of the fastest growing industries and now accounts for around 50% of the European Union’s production of sea bream. Turkey, Spain, and Italy are also key producers. Bream farmed in open net pens causes some environmental concerns. These concerns include: pollution from both nutrients and organic matters that lead to environmental changes; escaped farmed fish; disease transfer between farmed and wild species; introduction of non-indigenous species that can act as ‘pests’ in local communities, some remaining concerns surrounding enforcement and regulatory controls. Bream are carnivorous fish that require more fish in their diet than they actually produce, leading to a net loss of marine proteins and oils. The fish used to make their feed cannot be assured to be sourced from a sustainable supply.

Feed Resources

Criterion Score: -1

Gilthead Sea Bream are a fed species, requiring a commercial diet containing fish and vegetable proteins and oils. Sea bream produced to no recognised production standards cannot be assured to use traceable, responsible or sustainable feed. Sea bass require fishmeal and fish oil in their diet making them a net consumer of fish protein rather than producers.


Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: -2

Sea bream have a number of environmental impacts associated with their production, in particular is the lack of data around the use of antibiotics, direct discharges, risk of disease and parasite transfer to the surrounding environment, predator control and escape risk.


Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion Score: 1

Fish welfare and humane slaughter requirements are in place for sea bass .



Criterion Score: -1 

Overall the management of sea bass production is evaluated to be only partially effective as there is a lack of Spatial Management that adequately incorporates aquaculture production and although there are regulations in place for many of the environmental impacts of production there is insufficient data to assess their overall effectiveness.


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.


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
Bass, seabass (Farmed)
Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, Cape
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)


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.


FAO 2005-2018.Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Sparus aurata. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Text by Colloca, F.; Cerasi, S. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 8 February 2005.Accessed 05/06/2018

EU Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on Organic Production

Health status of wild and cultured Seabream in the northern Adriatic Sea: Vet. Med. - Czech, 47, 2002 (8): 222-226

CIESM Workshop Monographs Impacts of Mariculture on Coastal Ecosystems. 2007 .

The Impact of a Fish Farm on a Bottlenose Dolphin Population in the Mediterreanean Sea: Halassas., 2005, 21 (2): 65-70 An International Journal of Marine Sciences. Avaialble online at: Accessed 05/06/2018

Health status of wild and cultured Seabream in the northern Adriatic Sea: Vet. Med. - Czech, 47, 2002 (8): 222-226