Sea bass, often marketed by U.S. chefs under the Italian name branzino, is a prized fish in Europe, where it is largely a recreational catch. Small commercial fisheries exist in the Mediterranean. The gear used to catch these bass includes beach and purse seines, trawl nets, trammel nets, longlines and rod and line. Commercial catches are sold fresh, mainly to local markets. This sea bass, which reaches a maximum size of around 32 inches, is found in the Atlantic along the European coasts, in the Mediterranean and as far south as Senegal. Limited wild harvests and a high price made U.S. imports unfeasible until farmed supplies from Norway and Greece began appearing in the American market. Demand today is met almost exclusively by aquacultured product. The bass’s ability to thrive in seawater, brackish water and even fresh water makes it a good candidate for farming. Though now classified as Dicentrarchus labrax, branzino has also gone by the scientific name Morone labrax.
Images and data provided by SeafoodSource. To view the entire Seafood Handbook, visit SeafoodSource.com.