Blue marlin, or Kajiki in Japanese, is distinguished by its large size, heavy bill and rougher, darker skin compared to its more slender cousin the striped marlin. Marlins are a highly migratory fish living at the top of the food chain in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world’s oceans. The blue marlin is found in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic. It is a member of a larger family known as billfish, which get their name from their upper jaw that extends to form a spear. Because of its immense size, weighing up to 1,600 pounds, marlin is prized as a sports fish.
Blue marlin have a dark blue and even blackish color, and are distinguished by their large bill and size, weighing on average between 80 and 300 pounds. Its flesh ranges from white to pink and has a lacquered look because of its high oil content. Marlin is marketed in a variety of forms including high quality sushi and sashimi.
Marlin are highly migratory and, therefore, not a lot is known about their spawning periods and behaviors. However, they are highly fecund producing up to 500,000 eggs in a single spawning event. They can live up to 20 years. In the Pacific, adult marlin are found in the north and south-central Pacific. They spawn in the central Pacific and central Mexico. They favor water temperatures of 20 to 25 degrees Celcius and spend most of their time near the surface of the water. Marlin are solitary fishes and are known to make regular seasonal migrations, moving toward the equator in winter and away in summer. They feed on epipelagic fishes including mackerel, sardines and anchovies. They will also feed on squid and small crustaceans when given the chance. Marlin use their large bills to stun their prey by thrash through schools of fish.
This fishery uses a longline to catch a variety of pelagic fish on the high seas such as tuna and swordfish. A deep-set longline is used to primarily target tuna and a shallow-set longline is used to target swordfish or mixed species including bigeye, Albacore and yellowfin tuna. Baited hooks are attached to a line that floats in the ocean using buoys and flagpoles.
This fishery uses a variety of artisanal hook-and-line methods to catch coastal pelagic fish such as tuna, marlin, swordfish, mahi mahi, wahoo (ono) and others. A pole and line with live bait scattered into the water is used to catch feeding skipjack tuna. Trolling with lures and lines, and handlines with lures, lines and bait bags are used to target larger fish such as bigeye tuna, swordfish, mahi mahi and wahoo.