COMMON NAME: Blue Marlin
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Makaira nigricans
GROUP NAME: School
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: 27 years (females); 18 years (males)
SIZE: Up to 14 feet
WEIGHT: Up to 1,985 pounds
SIZE RELATIVE TO A 6-FT MAN:
ABOUT THE BLUE MARLIN
The strikingly beautiful blue marlin is the largest of the Atlantic marlins and one of the biggest fish in the world.
Females, which are significantly larger than males, can reach 14 feet in length and weigh more than 1,985 pounds. Average sizes tend to be in the range of 11 feet and 200 to 400 pounds.
Coloring and Characteristics
Native to the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, blue marlins are among the most recognizable of all fish. They are cobalt-blue on top and silvery-white below, with a pronounced dorsal fin and a long, lethal, spear-shaped upper jaw.
Habitat and Diet
They are so-called blue-water fish, spending most of their lives far out at sea. They are also highly migratory, and will follow warm ocean currents for hundreds and even thousands of miles.
Blue marlins prefer the higher temperature of surface waters, feeding on mackerel and tuna, but will also dive deep to eat squid. They are among the fastest fish in the ocean, and use their spears to slash through dense schools, returning to eat their stunned and wounded victims.
Commercial and Sport Fishing
Known for putting up a tremendous fight when hooked, these rare marine monsters are the holy grail for sport fishers. Their meat is considered a delicacy, particularly in Japan, where it is served raw as sashimi. Although not currently endangered, conservationists worry that they are being unsustainably fished, particularly in the Atlantic.