The sea bream is a member of the pomfret fish family.

Pomfret is an informal category of fish that contains more than 30 known species that are members of the Bramidae family. All permits can be identified by the flattened body and the long dorsal fin that runs the length of the fish’s body. The different species of fish identified as pomfrets come from at least eight different genera. Some species are quite rare and even threatened with extinction. Other species of pomfret are quite widespread and are valuable commercial fish species throughout Asia.

Pomfrets are included in the perciform fish category. Perciformes are bony fishes that have two nearly separate fins, including a dorsal fin near the head and an anal fin near the tail. The dorsal fins of perciformes are almost always much larger than the anal fins. Unlike other perciformes, the dorsal fin in a pomfret is reduced to become the anal fin with no clear division between the two. The upper tip of the dorsal fin of these fishes usually extends back towards the tail.

A fish only needs to have the correct fin shape and structure to be considered a permit, and these species of fish can be found in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Most of these species are not related to each other and are considered pomfrets based on their shape alone. There are eight genera that have species of pomfret fish. Some examples include Brahma, Eumegistus, Pterycombus, and Taractichthys. The genus Brama contains the largest number of palometas, including at least eight recognized species.

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In terms of commercial fishing, the Atlantic pomfret (Brama brama) is the most important species in this category of fish. Also known as angelfish and Black Sea bream, this fish is a popular menu item in China and other regions of South Asia. This fish spends most of its life cycle at a depth of 3,250 feet (about 1,000 meters), feeding on smaller fish and shellfish. Despite the common name, Black Sea bream can be found in various regions of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans.

Pomfrets are usually prepared whole after the internal organs of the fish have been removed. Fish is considered tastiest when freshly cooked, fried or steamed. Pomfret fish, such as the Atlantic pomfret, have been reported to have a savory flavor that lacks the strong odor and aftertaste associated with many species of saltwater fish.

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