Europaen sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)
European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax has a high commercial value as it is both captured from wild stocks as well as produced in aquaculture. The species inhabits the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean from 60°N to 30°N and has been introduced for culture purpose in Israel, the Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. The species is eurythermic (5-28°C) and euryhaline with a great tolerance for salinity from 3‰ to full strength seawater. Thus European sea bass occur in estuaries, brackish water lagoons and sometimes-even venture upstream into freshwater.
The females spawn from December to March in the Mediterranean Sea and up to June in the Atlantic Ocean. They show a high fecundity with an average of 200,000 eggs/kg of female. Sea basses are carnivorous. They live as predators and feed on small fish, prawns, crabs, and cuttlefish.
Since landings from capture fisheries are declining whereas/while the market in major consumption areas is increasing and thus unsatisfied, European sea bass is of high interest for aquaculture in Europe. In the past Dicentrarchus labrax was cultured in coastal lagoons and tidal reservoirs. In the late 1960s the first mass-production of juveniles started. Belonging to the family of Moronidae the European sea bass was the first non-salmonid species that was commercially cultured in Mediterranean areas. Nowadays Dicentrarchus labrax represents the most important commercial fish produced around the Mediterranean with Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Croatia, and Egypt as the biggest producers.
At present the most common methods for sea bass production are sea cages, but they are also cultured in concrete raceways, ponds, and closed systems. The traditional restocking of juveniles in lagoons is only performed in a limited way in Greece and Italy.