The Black Bream Project


Each year at around Eastertime the seabed at sites throughout Dorset, is transformed in a spectacle of nature as tens of thousands of black bream, Spondyliosoma cantharus, arrive to breed.   For divers the seabed is transformed into a moonscape of craters and for anglers, fishing boats head to sea to catch the fish which are prized for sport and/or as delicious seafood.


Despite this dense, breeding aggregation, divers rarely encounter bream underwater – the fish are shy and often move away until the divers have gone. For a better understanding of natural breeding behaviour, together with Matt Doggett, we placed video cameras on the seabed in the nesting areas between Kimmeridge and Poole Bay.


  • Find out what happens when the divers are not there?

  • What is life like on and around Dorset’s black bream nesting areas?

  • See the bream swim back and forth across the site in large shoals

  • Watch the male fish, start to build their nests, keep other males away and attract passing females.

  • See the eggs that the male keeps clear from sediment and any would-be predators until they hatch. And observe the predators taking advantage of an empty nest if he should move away.


The Black Bream Project


National Geographic Expeditions


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