Black Bream

Scientific Name
Acanthopagrus butcheri
Up to 60 centimetres in length
Up to 4 kilograms in weight

General Description

Black bream are a very popular species amongst recreational fishers as their high quality flesh makes them a delicious table fish.

Black bream are generally golden brown to bronze on their upper body and white below. As the fish mature to over 1 kilogram, they often develop a blue tinge on their snout. They can grow up to 60 centimetres in length and 4 kilograms in weight, however, they are commonly smaller when caught by anglers. It is reported that bream take around 9 years to reach the minimum length of 28 centimetres.

Where to Find

Native to southern Australia, black bream inhibit coastal rivers, lakes and estuaries. They have adapted to life in estuaries where the salinity can range from freshwater to extremely salty.

Fishing Rules

In Victoria, bream (all species) carry a minimum size limit of 28 cm and a bag limit of 10 for one or more species of bream.

On 1 April 2021, a slot limit of 28-38cm was introduced for black bream caught in the Gippsland Lakes and its tributaries only. For more information, including a map outlining the included waters, visit the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s website.




Threats and Management Issues

The 2018 ‘Status of Australian Fish Stocks‘ report classified our black bream stocks in the Gippsland Lakes as ‘depleting.’ The evidence analysed as part of the report found that ‘the continuing decline in mesh net catch rates, continuing low recreational catch rates and lack of evidence of recent strong recruitment events means a short-term recovery of the fishery means unlikely.’

In the same report, Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay fishery and Corner Inlet fishery were both categorised as sustainable black bream fisheries.

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