Broadbill Swordfish are named for the long, sword-like bill extending from the front portion of their body. Swordfish are found worldwide in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, in tropical, temperate, and sometimes cold waters between 40-80°F. They have been found at depths between 700-2000 feet
Swordfish can be quite large, ranging from 10-600 pounds. They have 2 dorsal fins, 2 anal fins, and no pelvic fins. The fins are usually brown to dark brown in color. The rest of the body is blackish-brown on the upper side a lighter shade of brown on the belly area. Swordfish is an ideal grilling fish; it is also popularly served as sushi.
Swordfish live up to 9 years of age, and reach sexual maturity between 5-6 years. Not much is known about the reproductive behavior of swordfish except that spawning tends to occur in warmer waters year round and during the spring and summer months in cooler regions. Swordfish have been observed spawning at a depth of approximately 250 feet. Females carry between 1-29 million eggs, which are fertilized outside of the body. The eggs begin developing into embryos about 2.5 days after they are fertilized.
The appearance of the Swordfish changes dramatically as they mature. The larvae measure about .15 inches long when they are hatched and have a short snout and prickly scales. The bill begins to develop when the larvae reach 0.5 inches in length and the body begins to narrow. At this stage, the dorsal fin runs the length of the body until the swordfish reaches about 9 inches in length. This fin develops into a single lobe as the fish matures, and a smaller dorsal fin later develops when the fish is approximately 20 inches in length.
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.