characterized by a long, flat bill. They are a popular sport fish of the billfish
category, though elusive. Swordfish are elongated, round-bodied, and lose all teeth and scales by adulthood. These fish can live close to shore. They reach a maximum size of 14 ft 9 in (455 cm) and 1,400 lb (650 kg).
Well, this looks friendly.
Oh she's good isn't she!
I have been told that the best crackers in the world can do this under 60 minutes but unfortunately I need someone who can do this under 60 seconds.
[when Stan fails to hack the Dept. of Defense network in 60 seconds] Too Bad ! Now you gotta die !
It's kinda like masturbation without the payoff.
Stanley: Nothing is impossible.
Axel Torvalds: He exists in a world beyond your world. What we only fantasize, he does. He lives a life where nothing is beyond him. But you know what? It's all a facade. For all his charm and charisma, his wealth, his expensive toys... he's a driven, unflinching, calculating machine. He takes what he wants, when he wants... and disappears.
Log on. Hack in. Go anywhere. Steal everything.
characterized by a long, flat bill. They are a popular sport fish of the billfish
category, though elusive. Swordfish are elongated, round-bodied, and lose all teeth and scales by adulthood. These fish can live close to shore. They reach a maximum size of 14 ft 9 in (455 cm) and 1,400 lb (650 kg). The International Game Fish Association
's all-tackle angling record for a swordfish was a 1,182 lb (536.15 kg) specimen taken off Chile
They are the sole member of their family Xiphiidae.
PhysiologyThe swordfish is named after its bill resembling a sword
(Latin gladius), which together with its streamlined physique allows it to cut through the water with great ease and agility. Contrary to popular belief, the "sword" is not used to spear, but instead may be used to slash at its prey in order to injure the prey animal, to make for an easier catch. Mainly the swordfish relies on its great speed, capable of reaching speeds up to 50 mph (80 km/h), and agility in the water to catch its prey. One possible defensive use for the sword-like bill is for protection from its few natural predators. The shortfin mako shark
is one of the rare sea creatures big enough and fast enough to chase down and kill an adult swordfish, but they don't always win. Sometimes in the struggle with a shark a swordfish can kill it by ramming it in the gills or belly.
Like most fish, the females grow larger than the males, with males over 300 lb (135 kg) being rare. Females mature at 4–5 years of age in northwest Pacific while males mature first at about 3 to 4 years. In the North Pacific, batch spawning occurs in water warmer than 24°C from March to July and year round in the equatorial Pacific. Adult swordfish forage includes pelagic fish
including small tuna
, dorado, barracuda
, flying fish, mackerel
, forage fish
as well as benthic
species of hake
are important when available. Swordfish are thought to have few predators as adults although juveniles are vulnerable to predation by large pelagic fish.
animals, they have special organs next to their eye
s to heat their eyes and also their brain. Temperatures of 10 to 15 °C above the surrounding water temperature have been measured. The heating of the eyes greatly improves their vision
, and consequently improves their ability to catch prey. Out of the 25,000+ species of bony fish
, only about 22 are known to have the ability to heat selected body parts above the temperature of the surrounding water. These include the swordfish, marlin
, and tuna
Swordfish are not schooling
fish. They swim alone or in very loose aggregations, separated by as much as 10 meters from a neighboring swordfish. They are frequently found basking at the surface, airing their first dorsal fin. Boaters report this to be a beautiful sight, as is the powerful jumping for which the species is known. This jumping, also called breaching, is thought by some researchers to be an effort to dislodge pests, such as remora
or lampreys. It could also be a way of surface feeding by stunning small fish as they jump out of the water, making the fish more easily captured for food.
Swordfish feed daily, most often at night when they rise to surface and near-surface waters in search of smaller fish. They have been observed moving through schools of fish, thrashing their swords to kill or stun their prey and then quickly turning to consume their catch. In the western North Atlantic, squid is the most popular food item consumed. But fish, such as menhaden
, mackerel, bluefish
, silver hake, butterfish, and herring
also contribute to the swordfish diet.
Swordfish are vigorous, powerful fighters. When hooked or harpooned, they have been known to dive so quickly that they have impaled their swords into the ocean bottom up to their eyes. Although there are no reports of unprovoked attacks on humans, swordfish can be very dangerous when harpooned. They have run their swords through the planking of small boats when hurt.
The only natural enemies of the adult swordfish are large sharks, sperm whales, and orcas. As a result, they are easily frightened by small boats, which are similar in size to adults or juveniles of these species, but larger craft are able to draw very near to swordfish without frightening them, making swordfish easy to harpoon
The swordfish is often mistaken for other billfish such as marlin
, but upon examination their physiology is quite different.
ReproductionSwordfish have been observed spawning in the Atlantic Ocean, in water less than 250 ft (75 m) deep. Estimates vary considerably, but females may carry from 1 million to 29 million eggs in their gonads. Solitary males and females appear to pair up during the spawning season. Spawning occurs year-round in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, the Florida coast and other warm equatorial waters, while it occurs in the spring and summer in cooler regions. The most recognized spawning site is in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Italy. The height of this well-known spawning season is in July and August, when males are often observed chasing females. The pelagic eggs are buoyant, measuring 1.6–1.8 mm in diameter. Embryonic development occurs during the 2 ½ days following fertilization. As the only member of its family, the swordfish has unique-looking larvae. The pelagic larvae are 4 mm long at hatching and live near the surface. At this stage, the body is only lightly pigmented. The snout is relatively short and the body has many distinct, prickly scales
. With growth, the body narrows. By the time the larvae reach half an inch long (12 mm), the bill is notably elongated, but both the upper and lower portions are equal in length. The dorsal fin runs the length of the body. As growth continues, the upper portion of the bill grows proportionately faster than the lower bill, eventually producing the characteristic prolonged upper bill
. Specimens up to approximately 9 inches (23 cm) in length have a dorsal fin that extends the entire length of the body. With further growth, the fin develops a single large lobe, followed by a short portion that still reaches to the caudal peduncle. By approximately 20 inches (52 cm), the second dorsal fin has developed, and at approximately 60 inches (150 cm), only the large lobe remains of the first dorsal fin. They have been known to eat their own young due to lack of nutrition.
HarvestSwordfish were harvested by a variety of methods at small scale (notably harpoon
fishing) until the global expansion of long-line fishing
often being rosier.
Swordfish are classified as oily fish
. Many sources including the United States
Food and Drug Administration
warn about potential toxicity from high levels of methylmercury
The FDA recommends that young children, pregnant women, and women of child-bearing age not eat swordfish. (See mercury in fish
for more details.)
The flesh of some swordfish can acquire an orange tint, reportedly from their diet of shrimp or other prey. Such fish are sold as "pumpkin swordfish," and command a premium over their whitish counterparts. (Information from U.S. vendor Whole Foods
Conservation statusSwordfish are not listed as an endangered species.
In 1998, the United States
Natural Resources Defense Council
hired Fenton Communications
to conduct an advertising campaign to promote their assertion that the swordfish population was in danger due to its popularity as a restaurant entree.
The resulting "Give Swordfish a Break" promotion was wildly successful, with 750 prominent U.S. chefs agreeing to remove North Atlantic swordfish from their menus, and also persuaded many supermarkets and consumers across the country.
The advertising campaign was repeated by the national media in hundreds of print and broadcast stories, as well as extensive regional coverage. It earned the Silver Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America as well as Time magazine's award for the top five environmental stories of 1998.
Subsequently, the US National Marine Fisheries Service
proposed a swordfish protection plan that incorporated the campaign's policy suggestions. Then-US President Bill Clinton
called for a ban on the sale and import of swordfish and in a landmark decision by the federal government, 132670 square miles (343,613.7 km²) of the Atlantic ocean were placed off-limits to fishing as recommended by the sponsors.
In the North Atlantic, the swordfish stock is fully rebuilt, with biomass estimates currently 5% above the target level. There are no robust stock assessments for swordfish in the northwestern Pacific or South Atlantic, and there is a paucity of data concerning stock status in these regions. These stocks are considered unknown and a moderate conservation concern. The southwestern Pacific stock is a moderate concern due to model uncertainty, increasing catches, and declining CPUEs (catch per unit effort
). Overfishing is likely occurring in the Indian Ocean, and fishing mortality exceeds the maximum recommended level in the Mediterranean, thus these stocks are considered of high conservation concern.
In 2010, Greenpeace International has added the swordfish to its seafood red list. "The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries."
Recreational importanceRecreational fishing has developed a sub-specialty called swordfishing. Because there is a ban on long-lining along many parts of seashore, swordfish populations are showing signs of recovery from the overfishing caused by long-lining along the coast.
There are various ways to fish for swordfish, but the most common method is deep-sea fishing. Because many swordfish used to be caught by long-lining near shore, the remaining population of swordfish live about 40 miles or more off the coast. The boat is allowed to drift, as the ocean bottom is too deep for anchors. Swordfishing requires a specialized, strengthened fishing rod as swordfish are quite large. Standard bait is large chunks of mackerel, herring, mullet, bonito or squid; one can also use live bait. Imitation squids and other imitation fish lures can also be used, and specialized lures made specifically for sword fishing using plastic glow sticks are also used.
As a namesakeThe word "swordfish" is used in a number of cultural contexts. The swordfish's strong image leads to a particularly large number of namesakes in naval and military