U.S. Virgin Islands Territorial Fish
Blue Marlin (common name)
Makaira nigricans (scientific name)
One of the world’s most prized sport and commercial fish, the marlin is a very large predatory fish of the deep ocean. It is blue-black in color above and silvery white below. It has a very long, thin bill (comprising 20 percent of its length); very long, spiked dorsal fins that can form a fan; and a wide, forked tail. Females are up to four times larger than males. Marlins are extremely powerful swimmers that migrate in warmer seasons to follow their prey. They can also undertake long, one-way or round-trip migrations between the Caribbean Islands and Venezuela and West Africa.
Length: Up to 13 ft (4 m)
Weight: Males: Up to 350 lbs (60 kg)
Females: Up to 1,200 lbs (540 kg)
Up to 18 years for males and 27 years for females
Temperate blue water ocean and off coastal shelves.
Water type: Saltwater
Water temp: Approximately 71-87°F (22-31°C)
Conservation Status: Least concern (LC). The blue marlin is not listed as a threatened species by the IUCN, although commercial fishing is taking a serious toll on the fish. Commercial vessels are supposed to return marlins that are improperly caught within 200 miles (320 km) of the U.S. coastline.
Fish (mackerel, tuna, pomfret, snipefish, mahi-mahi) and squid.
Spawning frequency: July–September in the North Atlantic and February–March in the South Atlantic.
Mating behavior: Multiple mates
Egg laying: The marlin spawns in warm ocean currents where each female lays 1 million tiny, spherical white/yellow eggs, which float freely for a week before hatching. Adults do not guard the eggs or young.
Commercial fish, sport fish
Cuban black marlin, ocean gar, billfish, blue marlin, aguja, espadim
Click to enlarge an image
Raw Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press