Sea Bream, Archosargus rhomboidalis
The Sea Bream, Archosargus rhomboidalis, whose common Spanish name is sargo amarillo, is a species in the Porgy or Sparidae Family, known collectively as plumas in Mexico. This fish is also known as the Western Atlantic Seabream. Globally, there are only three species in the genus Archosargus, two of which are found in Mexican waters, both in the Atlantic.
The Sea Breams have oval bodies with a depth that is 44 to 48% of standard length. They are somewhat compressed and have a humped back. They are light blue in color and transition to silver ventrally with seven irregular golden stripes on their sides. There is a prominent black blotch above their pectoral fin base and their fins have an orange tint. The pelvic fins are dark in males and orange in females. Their head is small and pointed and has an asymmetrical convex profile. They have moderately-sized eyes and a small mouth that opens at the front. Their anal fin has a short base with three spines (the second of which is very strong) and nine or ten rays; their caudal fin is forked; their dorsal fin is long and low with 13 spines and 10 or 11 rays; their pectoral fins are long and reach the second anal spine. They are covered with scales.
The Sea Breams are found in marine and brackish environments, in reefs over muddy and sandy bottoms, and in seagrass beds and mangroves at depths up to 165 feet. They reach a maximum length of 33 cm (13 inches) and weight of just over 450 grams (1 lb). They feed on benthic invertebrates including small bivalves and crustaceans as well as plant material. They have a limited lifespan of only two years.
In Mexican the Sea Breams are found in all waters of the Atlantic.
The Sea Bream is most likely confused with the Pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides (narrower oval body; blue stripes; wide blue anal fin margin).
The Sea Breams are a target of recreational anglers and provide a good fight for their size. They are caught by drifting or still fishing on light spinning and baitcasting tackle on live or dead shrimp and cut fish or squid. They are also fished commercially and taken with longlines, seines, and trammel nets. They are marketed fresh and frozen.
Note: this fish, on occasion will show up in the fresh fish section of many of the major supermarkets in the greater Los Cabos area. They are always “old,” beat to hell with the color badly faded, and of very poor quality and sold at high prices indicative of their transport from the East Coast.
Sea Bream, Female, Archosargus rhomboidalis. Fish purchased at the Walmart, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, March 2009. Length: 25 cm (10 inches). Identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama.
Sea Bream, Archosargus rhomboidalis. Fish caught from coastal waters off Islamorada, Florida, April 2012. Length: 18 cm (7.0 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.