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Common Bream

Quality mark Cultivation
/Keurmerk Wild
Green
Second choice
Avoid
Bycatch
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General

Common Bream

The common bream is a native freshwater fish in the Netherlands that is very popular in sport fishing. A few professional inland fishermen also fish for bream, mainly in the IJsselmeer. The common bream is a tall, laterally flattened fish that belongs to the carp family. Its head is relatively small with a downwards pointing mouth. Juveniles have silver flanks, older bream have a dark grey to dark brown colour and can reach a length of over 80 cm. The common bream mainly feeds off the bottom, stirring up sediment, which made it an undesirable fish for a long time, as it would make the water turbid.

Common Bream

Origin

Estonia

Farming- / Catch method

Anchored gillnets, Fyke, Gillnets

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

In Estonia, the common bream is a target species that is actively fished. Common bream stocks in these lakes have been increasing in recent years due to eutrophication, which is beneficial for this species. The fish species is also underfished.

In Estonian lakes, fykes and anchored gillnets are used. There is little bycatch of endangered species in Estonia.

Fishing in Lake Peipus is well regulated. Estonia and Russia agree on a quota that is determined by scientists from both countries, and this quota has been underutilised in recent years, which has led to an improvement in common bream stocks.
In Lake Võrtsjärv, common bream fishing is regulated by a limit on the number of fishing gears, fishing days and mesh size. Control is less well regulated, but here too the common bream stock remains underutelised.

Common Bream

Origin

Sweden

Farming- / Catch method

Anchored gillnets, Fyke, Gillnets

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

There is no fishery that targets common bream directly in these Swedish lakes, instead common bream is a bycatch of the pike-perch fishery. The common bream stock in these lakes is healthy and there is no overfishing taking place.

The fishing gears used in the Swedish lakes are the fyke and the ancherod gillnet. There is little bycatch with these fishing methods, except for eels, who can be caught in the fykes. However, fykes give a good survival rate and eels are not caught in such numbers as to affect Swedish eel recovery plans.

There is no specific management on common bream, but as this fish is caught in the pike-perch fishery, the common bream fishery is limited by the limits set on the pike-perch fishery. Judging by the common bream stocks in these lakes, this is enough to keep the common bream population healthy.

Common Bream

Origin

Netherlands

Farming- / Catch method

Boat seines, Purse seines, Anchored gillnets, Gillnets

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

Until 2014, the policy on common bream was always to catch it as much as possible; the fish was seen as the cause of poor water quality and turbid water. This policy encouraged overfishing, causing the common bream stock in the IJsselmeer to decline by ~95% compared to before 2000. After 2014, fishing pressure was significantly reduced but the maximum advised catch continues to be exceeded, as a result of which the stock has not yet recovered. Therefore, common bream scores red on the stock.

The most common fishing method is the seine, which has little bycatch. This fishing method is mainly used to catch the common bream alive and place it elsewhere in the country for restocking. The most common fishing gear used is seine, which has little bycatch. Besides common bream, this type of gear also targets pike, pike-perch and roach. All stocks are not doing well. Unwanted bycatch, for example of water fowl, occurs only incidentally. The fishery therefore scores yellow for environmental impact.

The fishery has a management plan with good and bad sides. There are rules to reduce the bycatch of water fowl and there is a maximum mesh size and a limit on the number of fishing days for seine fishing. The government is even trying to reduce this limit to only two days a year. However, the recommended maximum catch of common bream has been exceeded for several years. Wageningen Marine Research recommends a 0-catch advice to achieve full recovery, or a maximum of 20 tonnes per year for partial recovery of the bream stock. Currently, this advice is exceeded 8-10 times.  Therefore, the fishery scores yellow for management.

ASC label

Fish with the ASC label is farmed in a sustainable manner.

MSC label

Fish with the MSC label is caught sustainably.

Good fish

This fish is not being overfished or is being responsibly farmed, with minimal impact on the environment.

Second choice

This fish is a second choice. There are still some improvements to be made in this fishery or fish farm.

Avoid

Do not buy this fish. It's being overfished or the way it's farmed or caught has a negative impact on the environment.

By-catch

This fish is unwillingly caught while fishing for a different species. They are underused and should be eaten more.

GlobalG.A.P.

GlobalG.A.P. certified farms are doing a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability. A few species with this label are getting a better score on the VISwijzer.

Organic

Organic standards are the strictest when it comes to fish feed. They also require certain measures for animal well-being.