Gilt-head bream

In ancient Greece, it was dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite because it was considered the most attractive and tasty fish

Gilt-head bream

Three-dimensional Illustration of Gilt-Head Bream

The gilt-head (sea) bream (Sparus aurata) is the most widely cultivated species, not only in Greece but also throughout the Mediterranean. It belongs to the Sparidae family, which is more abundant in the Mediterranean than anywhere else.

In the classical era, it was dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, either because she is a hermaphrodite herself or because of her beauty. The bream (Sparus aurata) is hermaphroditic, with the majority of fish of the species transitioning from male to female. It is primarily carnivorous and feeds on shellfish, including mussels and oysters. In Italy, it is called ‘‘orata’’, in Spain ‘‘dorade’’, in France ‘‘dorade royale’’ and in Greece and Cyprus ‘‘tsipoura’’. Its Latin name, “sparus aurata”, is derived from the characteristic golden strip between its eyes. The fish is highly adaptable, and capable of living in seawater, as well as in the brackish waters of coastal lagoons.

The superiority of this species and its adaptability to less salty waters than the open sea make it an ideal fish farming species. The Greek production of sea bream and sea bass currently represents over 60% of the production of these species in the EU and nearly 30% of the production of Mediterranean species worldwide. In terms of nutritional value, per 100gr of bream, it provides 168kcal of energy, about 21% protein, and no carbohydrates.

Its total fat content is 9.5%, with less than 0.5% dietary fiber. Additionally, 100g contains 7mg of selenium, 0.87mg of vitamin D, 327mg of EPA, and 555mg of DHA. The flesh of a gilt-head (sea) bream makes fine neat fillets, but the fish are often cooked whole, after being cleaned, since their size and relatively narrow bodies lend themselves to this very well.

Of the 120 tons of fish caught in the Logarou-Tsoukalio lagoon complex, 50 are bream. During the winter, the very shallow waters of the lagoon are quickly affected by the low outside temperature. The sea bream is caught by fish net, while desperately trying to leave the lagoon in search of the warmer waters of the Ambracian Gulf.

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