Black Bream

Bream black
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe
Season: Open all year

bag limit5


possession limit10


boat limit-

Limits apply in marine waters.

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size


Most scalefish are measured from the nose to the end of the tail. Get your scalefish measuring ruler or sticker at any Service Tasmania outlet.

Other names

bream, silver bream

Scientific name

Acanthopagrus butcheri

Grows to

Up to

60cm and 3.5kg

Identifying features

​Black bream have a deep body with a single dorsal fin, sharply rounded snout with a moderate size mouth that reaches back level with the eye. They are a silvery bronze to blackish green, with a white chin and belly. The fins are greenish black with a darker margin. Closely related to snapper.


No spearing. For inland waters catch limits refer to the Inland Fisheries Service Code.


Bream are commonly found in coastal lagoons, estuaries and rivers over weed, sand or rocky bottom. They may aggregate around submerged structures, such as bridge footings, fallen trees, oyster racks, moorings and rocks. Highly mobile, they migrate considerable distances and travel the length of estuaries during tidal changes. They can cope with a wide range of salinity and migrate into fresh water in large numbers during the spawning season.

Fishing information

Bream are a popular angling species in Tasmania with a number of fishing competitions targeting them each year. They are good fighters on light gear. Fishing methods vary between bait fishing, hard body or soft plastic lures and fly fishing. Popular baits include prettyfish, sandworms, clams, crabs and pilchards. They prefer baits unweighted on the bottom and will tend to seek sheltered and snaggy areas when hooked.


Care needs to be exercised when handling black bream as they are armed with sharp dorsal and anal spines capable of inflicting a deep wound. The spines are not venomous.

Public Health advice

The Director of Public Health advises people not to eat bream caught in the Derwent Estuary and Browns River due to heavy metal contamination.


The flavour and flesh of bream can vary considerably depending on catch location and season. Suitable to steam, pan-fry, bake, grill or barbeque.

Recipe: Quent’s Wok-Fried Crispy Bream:

2 x 285-400g black bream, sunflower oil, 2 good handfuls of Chinese greens (spinach, pak choi)

For the Thai dressing:

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, a good pinch of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped, 1/2 clove garlic, finely sliced, one fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced, one large handful each fresh coriander and basil, chopped.

For the dressing, put everything into a jam jar and shake. Slash the bream on both sides, one cm deep, in a criss-cross fashion. In a pestle and mortar pound up the marinade ingredients and rub into the fish, getting it into the cuts and the belly. Let this sit for up to an hour.

Heat a wok with about 5 cm of sunflower oil. Remove the bream from the marinade and pat dry with kitchen paper. Dust each fish with flour, shaking off any excess. Carefully place each fish into the wok and fry for three minutes on each side. The skin will go amazingly crispy. Steam the greens until tender. To serve, place the greens on a plate, put the fish on top, and drizzle with the Thai dressing. Great served with steamed jasmine rice as it soaks up any extra delicious marinade. Serves 2.


Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

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Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647


Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550


Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550