The European bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) is a primarily ocean-going fish native to the waters off Europe’s western and southern and Africa’s northern coasts, though it can also be found in shallow coastal waters and river mouths during the summer months. It is one of only six species in its family, Moronidae, collectively called the temperate basses.
It is both fished and raised commercially, and is considered to be the most important fish currently cultured in the Mediterranean. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, the popular restaurant fish sold and consumed as sea bass is exclusively the European bass. In North America it is widely known by its Italian name branzino.
European bass can reach sizes of up to 1 m (3.3 ft) in length and 12 kg (26 lb) in weight, though the most common size is only about half of that at 0.5 m (1.6 ft). Individuals are silvery grey in color and sometimes a dark-bluish color on the back.