Porgy / Seabream Family
Sheephead Seabreem [family Sparidae]

Porgies and Seabreams are deep bodied fish that subsist mainly by crushing shellfish and crustaceans. On the east coasts of North and South America the "Common Seabream", is the Red Porgy (Pagrus pagrus). Pagrus pagrus is also found on the coasts of southern Europe and North Africa, but the "Common Seabream" in Europe is the Blackspot Seabream (Pagellus bogaraveo). Here in California the familiar Porgies and Seabreams are all from Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Our Pacific Porgy (Calamus brachysomus) is not common in the markets.

More on Varieties of Fish (large page).


Red Seabream.   -   [Pink Porgy (Market), Japanese Seabream; Madal (Japan); Ch'amdom (Korea); Pagrus Major]
Whole Red Seabream 02e

This is a very desirable eating fish. It is a West Pacific fish found from northern Vietnam up the coast to southern Japan and Korea, but is not found around the Philippines. It can grow to 39 inches, but is most commonly around 12 inches. The photo specimen was 13-3/8 inches long and weighed 1 pound 3-5/8 ounces. This fish is IUCN Red Listed as LC (Least Concern). It is caught wild, but is also extensively farmed. This is the second most heavily farmed fish in Japan.   Details and Cooking.

Sheepshead Seabream.   -   [Archosargus probatocephalus]
Whole Sheepshead Seabream 02e

Found along the West Atlantic from Nova Scotia around along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, this fish is not found around the Caribbean islands. It can grow to almost 36 inches and 21 pounds but the photo specimen was 12-1/2 inches and weighed 1-1/2 pounds. It's an ocean fish but it freely enters brackish water and sometimes even fresh water. It is considered an excellent eating fish and fished commercially, but is not threatened.   Details and Cooking.

Silver Seabream   -   [Pink Snapper, New Zealand Snapper, Australian Snapper, Squirefish; Pagrus auratus]
Whole Squirefish 05e

This Porgy is often sold in North America as "New Zealand Snapper" or "Pink Snapper", though it isn't a snapper nor closely related to them. It is found off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. A distinctly separate population is found from northern Vietnam to southern Japan. Farming this fish is in the development stages (2015) so some market fish may be farmed. This fish can reach 51 inches and 44 pounds, but is more commonly around 16 inches. The photo specimen was 12 inches long and weighed 1 pound 1 ounce. This fish is IUNC listed as DD (Data Deficient), but is not considered threatened.   Caution:   The name "Snapper" allows this fish to be sold at a premium price, but it's not a snapper. It has very good flavor, but has limitations that may make it not worth the price to you. For details see Details and Cooking.

Seabream - Rhabdosargus   -   [genus Rhabdosargus, family Sparidae]
Whole Unidentified Seabream 03e

I have not positively identified this seabream by species, but by general appearance and dorsal and anal spine and fin ray counts, its genus is Rhabdosargus. This is a little odd because we don't usually get fish from South and East Africa and the western Indian Ocean here in Southern California, but nothing says it doesn't happen. The photo specimen was 12-3/4 inches long and weighed 1 pound 3-3/8 ounces. Details and Cooking.

Yellowfin Seabream   -   [Acanthopagrus latus]
Whole Yellowfin Seabream 01e

This Indo-West Pacific fish is found from the Persian Gulf to the Philippines and from the north coast of Australia to Japan. It can grow to 19 inches and 3 pounds but the photo specimen was 10-1/2 inches and weighed 12 ounces. It is both caught wild and farmed.   Details and Cooking.

Scup   -   [Silver Bass (suggested market name); Stenotomus chrysops]
Live Scup 01e

This fish is found on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, from Nova Scotia, Canada down to Florida USA, but is not common south of North Carolina. It can grow to nearly 18 inches and a little over 4-1/2 pounds, but is commonly a around 10 inches and 1 pound. This has long been held as a "trash fish", but is now getting some attention in the seafood market due to declining availability of the more popular fish. The flavor is light, and liked by many people, but it is not suitable for wet cooking and is usually pan fried, broiled or baked, often whole. Skin shrink is severe, so it must be slashed or removed for cooking. Some is exported to Japan. It was considered overfished, but regulations are in place and populations are recovering. It is IUCN Red Listed NE (Not Evaluated).   Photo from 1902, copyright expired.

Beaked Redfish   -   [ Sebastes mentella] Whole Beaked Redfish 01e

  Photo by Dolores Garabana distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial v3.0 Unported Attribution Required.

Acadian Redfish   -   [Sebastes fasciatus]
Whole Red Porgy 01e

This Atlantic fish is found in diverse locations. In the East Atlantic it ranges from the Canary Islands, along the coast of Morocco, and as far north as the British Isles. It is also found in most of the Mediterranean. In the West Atlantic it is found from New York state south along the continental coast of the Caribbean and in the northern Gulf of Mexico. It is found along the northern and eastern coasts of South America as far south as central Argentina. Color varies widely. It can grow to almost 36 inches and 17 pounds, or even more, but is commonly a little less than 14 inches. This fish is IUCN Red Listed as LC (Least Concern) and is both caught wild and farmed.   Details and Cooking.   Photo from U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration = Public Domain.

Blackspot Seabream   -   [Red Bream, Red Seabream, Common Sea Bream (UK); Dorade Rose, Pageot Rose (France); Borazo, Goraz (Spain); Goraz (Portugal); Pagellus bogaraveo]
Whole Blackspot Seabream 01e

This is a very important food fish in the Northeast Atlantic. It is found from the coast of Morocco into the western Mediterranean and north to Iceland and Norway, even into the Arctic Circle. It is particularly common around the British Isles and along the western coast of France. It can grow to nearly 28 inches and nearly 9 pounds, but is commonly about 12 inches long. This fish is sold fresh and frozen, to be pan fried, broiled or baked. It does not appear in the fish markets in Southern California, so I have no further information.   Photo by Tamorlan (cropped, rotated and color corrected) distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Unported.

Hottentot Seabream   -   [Hottentot (Afrikaans); Pachymetopon blochii]
Live Hottentot Seabream

This fish, native to the west coast of South Africa north to Angola, can grow to 18 inches and 3-3/4 pounds, but is more commonly 10 inches. It was important to the early Dutch settlers in South Africa, and to the Cape Malay who cooked a lot of fish dishes. It is still fished commercially. IUCN Red List rated NE (Not Evaluated)   Photo by Peter Southwood distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Unported.

White Stumpnose   -   [Rhabdosargus globiceps]
Live White Stumpnose

This fish, native to the coast of Namibia and South Africa around to southern Mozambique, can grow to 25 inches, but is more commonly 16 inches. It is a gamefish and minor commercial catch in the region. It has traditionally been used by the Cape Malay. IUCN Red List rated NE (Not Evaluated)   Photo by Brian Gratwicke distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v2.0 Generic.

West Coast Seabream   -   [Steenbras (Afrikaans); Lithognathus aureti]
Live West Coast Seabream

This fish, native to the west coast of South Africa north to Angola, can grow to 39 inches and 42 pounds. In South Africa it is currently restricted to recreational catch by persons holding a valid fishing license and cannot be sold. It has traditionally been used by the Cape Malay. The fish in the photo has been attached by two parasitic isopods. IUCN Red List rated NE (Not Evaluated)   Photo by Hans Hillewaert distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v4.0 International.

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