Roman, Roman seabream
Area of capture
South Africa - FAO Area 47
Orange (CURRENTLY UNDER REVISION)*
Red roman seabream (Chrysoblephus laticeps) is a member of the seabream family (Sparidae) and is endemic to Southern Africa. Many spawning stocks have been severely depleted as a result of excessive fishing pressure, with one exploited spawning stock off Port Elizabeth showing a decline to 31% of its unexploited population. They are a highly resident, reef-associated species with a relatively narrow distribution from Namibia to the Eastern Cape. They exhibit life history characteristics such as slow growth (a 40cm fish can be as old as 40 years), late sexual maturity and protogyny (changing sex from female to male as they mature), all of which make them vulnerable to overfishing. Stocks are in urgent need of rebuilding as they have almost disappeared in some areas such as False Bay. However, there is evidence of stock recovery of this species within Marine Protected Areas along the coast.
Roman seabream are mainly caught in the traditional linefishery which operates from small ski- and deckboats within the inshore zone along most of the South African coastline, and they are also targeted by recreational linefishers and spearfishers. Linefishing is a relatively selective fishing method which has few impacts on the marine environment and is carried out with either a rod and reel or a handline. There is generally very little bycatch or habitat damage caused by this fishing method. However, some species targeted by this fishery are over-exploited or collapsed because of their specific life history characteristics.
The minimum size limit is 30cm for recreational and commercial fishers.
*Please note, this species is currently under revision in terms of its WWF-SASSI sustainability rating, and more recent information incorporated into the assessment may affect its colour categorisation.
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What can YOU do?
Rather choose a green-listed alternative such as santer. These alternatives have similar firm flesh with medium oil content as red roman. Or if you don't want to cut red roman out of your diet completely, eat it on a special occasion rather than every time you eat out.