European Seabass

Dicentrarchus labrax

  1. Wildlife
  2. Fish and sharks
  3. European Seabass


A thick set fish with large scales, as adults found in small groups or schooling as juveniles. Predominantly marine fish, but can be found in brackish water, during the summer can be found swimming up estuaries and rivers. European Seabass is a food fish, and regular catch by the fishing industry, historically it is considered a poineer species (after Salmon) in Europe to be successfully commercially farmed through aquaculture in the 1970s.  

How to identify

Identifiable by its silvery colour and blue/black/white/yellow underside. Juveniles are recognisable by the black spots on their upper body. Bass have two distinct dorsal fins, the first of which has 8 or 9 spines.

Where to find it

Along the coastline all around Britain, these are a wide ranging and widely distributed species, can normally be found at depths of 10m.


When to find it

  • January

How can people help

The european seabass is a commercially important species, however due to its vulnerability to overexploitation it is considered to have very poor sustainability as a food fish. You can help by being careful about what you choose in the supermarket - go for sustainably produced alternatives of fish and shellfish, preferably with the Marine Stewardship Council's logo. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives.

Species information

Common name
European Seabass
Latin name
Dicentrarchus labrax
Fish and sharks
Length: ~100cm Weight: 5-20lbs Lifespan: 4-8 years
Conservation status
Considered of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of species.