Diplodus bream population in Guernsey waters

May 31st, 2011 by Richard Lord

Martyn Vinning, Manager at Phoenix Fish in St Peter Port, received an unusual bream, which he brought to my attention on the morning of 31 May 2011.  He thought it might be a white bream, Diplodus sargus.  The bream had been caught by Nick Vining netting off Ladies Bay on the north coast of Guernsey on the evening of Sunday 29 May.

Dave Foxen had videoed a school of what appears to be juvenile white bream, Diplodus sargus in Grand Havre bay on 21 October 2007, and Andy Marquis had seen shoals of small white bream in July 2009 at the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth II marina in Belle Greve Bay on Guernsey’s east coast. Andy caught the first record of a white bream in Guernsey waters on 19 July 2009.

White bream have been in Jersey waters since at least 2004, but have only recently been caught in Guernsey waters although they had been sighted over a period of several years before then.

Probably a two-banded bream, Diplodus vulgaris, caught by Nick Vining on the night of 29 May 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Nick Vining’s bream had a total weight of 428 grams, a total length of 29.1 cm, a fork length of 25.2 cm, and a standard length of 22.2 cm.

When I first saw the fish in the chilled room at Phoenix Fish I noticed a dark mark on the fish’s nape and thought it was a two-banded bream, Diplodus vulgaris.  When I studied the fish later I thought it could also be a white bream, Diplodus sargus, because the mark on the nape was very faint to non-existent.  Most of images of two-banded bream show a dark, broad band from the nape to the axial of the pectoral fin.

The arrangement of incisors and molar teeth, the count of the gill rakers on the first gill arch, the lateral line count, and fin spine and ray counts were within the range for both the white bream and the two-banded bream.

At the time of capture Nick Vining thought it was a two-banded bream based on the colouration.  The broad black band on the caudal peduncle of Nick’s bream reaches the anal fin.  In white bream the black band doesn’t reach the anal fin so for this reason I believe Nick’s fish is a two-banded bream even though the band on the nape has faded from view.

Nick Vining has captured two-banded bream before now.  He has shipped them to France so they have not been recorded locally.

Nick began seeing white bream off Ladies Bay in June 2010.  The largest he has captured weighed 2 1/2 pounds.  He recounted a bream with a black caudal peduncle band and yellow pelvic fins, which indicates he has caught annular bream, Diplodus annularis, as well.

In June 2010 Nick hauled one net which contained five species of bream: gilt-head bream, Sparus aurata; red sea bream, Pagellus bogaraveo; Couch’s sea bream, Pagrus pagrus; black bream, Spondyliosoma canthurus; and two-banded bream, Diplodus vulgaris.

If present trends continue, with rising local sea temperatures, Guernsey fishermen can expect to see more species of bream in their catches.


1 Response to “Diplodus bream population in Guernsey waters”

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