Swordfish

Swordfish
Common Name Swordfish
Market Name broadbill, emperado
Scientific name Xiphias gladus

Sourcing Summary

Size

50-200 lbs.

Swordfish quality can vary greatly because swordfish boats will be at sea for different lengths of time, from a few days to nearly a month. Swordfish has a firm, meaty texture and is a good source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, and zinc. Bright white or pink swordfish meat with a bright red bloodline denotes freshness. Avoid swordfish meat that is gray and bloodlines that are brown because that indicates lower quality fish. Peak swordfish landings are August through October, which is also when the prices tend to be low. Swordfish caught by California gillnet boats in the fall tend to be high quality fish, according to some buyers. Frozen swordfish is available year-round.

Product Forms

Fresh/Frozen
Fresh
Product Forms
Chunks
Loins
Fresh/Frozen
Frozen
Product Forms
H&G
Loins

Fresh Seasonal Availability

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
nononononononoyesyesyesnono

Culinary Composition

Mild

Flavor

Firm

Texture

Cooking Methods

Advisory Concern

Mercury

Health/Nutrition

Nutrition facts

Serving Size: 100g
Amount per serving
Calories 121
Total Fat 4.01g
Cholesterol 39mg
Sodium 90mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Protein 19.8g
Omega-3 0.6g

Science & Management

Wild

Conservation Criteria - Wild

Impact on Stock

Swordfish are large migratory predators found around the world that grow quickly during their first year of life and have few predators as adults, making them resilient to fishing pressure. North Atlantic swordfish were declared overfished in the late 1990s. In 1999, quotas there were reduced as part of a 10-year plan to help rebuild stocks. In 2013 the population was declared rebuilt at about 14% above its target level, according to NOAA’s FishWatch. 

Seafood Watch reports that swordfish populations in the Pacific Ocean appear to be healthy, and overfishing is not occurring there, but FishWatch warned that stock assessments results have been conflicting. In the Indian Ocean southwest region swordfish are below levels needed to produce the maximum sustainable yield, according to a 2014 Seafood Watch Report. Mediterranean swordfish populations have been declining and Seafood Watch considers the most likely scenario from the last assessment is that the population is overfished and slight overfishing is occurring there.

Habitat impacts (Wild)

Most swordfish worldwide are caught using longlines, which doesn’t come in contact with the seafloor so it has few impacts on the ocean habitat. Swordfish are also caught with rod and reel, harpoon, handlines, and buoy gear that also have minimal effects.

Bycatch

Longline gear used to catch swordfish can result in high levels of bycatch, including sharks, sea birds, juvenile swordfish, and endangered marine turtles. Shortfin mako sharks, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature categorizes as a vulnerable species, are caught incidentally in the Atlantic swordfish fishery. 

To reduce bycatch risks, fishermen in the U.S. Atlantic are required to use circle hooks and longliners in Hawaii operate under strict regulations to protect sea turtles. Rod and reel, harpoon, handlines, and buoy gear also used for catching swordfish result in less bycatch. Despite a 2002 European ban on driftnet gear, some swordfish in the Mediterranean continue to be caught with them.

Management effectiveness

Given the global distribution of swordfish, multiple groups are responsible for managing the fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries Service and Fisheries and Oceans Canada manage swordfish for the U.S. and Canada in the North Atlantic. Strict management measures there are helping to reduce bycatch and bycatch mortality, according to the FishWatch. 

Indian Ocean swordfish fisheries are managed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. Overall Seafood Watch gave management there a red recommendation because of compliance issues with IUU fishing, data reporting to the Commission from individual countries, lack of measures to improve monitoring and no total allowable catch in place.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council manages swordfish in Hawaiian waters. Management, which includes scientific research and monitoring, catch limits and permit number limits, is considered effective.

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission manage swordfish in the Pacific. Measures include annual catch limits, vessel number limits, scientific monitoring, and gear limits. Management in the Western and Central Pacific is considered moderately effective. While the IATTC adopted bycatch management measures in the Eastern Pacific, Seafood Watch reported that many don’t meet best practice requirements and that scientific advice is not always followed when setting measures.

Conservation Criteria - Farmed

Origin Method Ratings
All Other Origins All Other Fishing Methods  
Atlantic Ocean - North Drift Gillnet  
Atlantic Ocean - North Handline  
Atlantic Ocean - North Harpoon  
Atlantic Ocean - North Pelagic Longline  
Atlantic Ocean - South Drift Gillnet  
Atlantic Ocean - South Handline  
Atlantic Ocean - South Harpoon  
Atlantic Ocean - South Pelagic Longline  
Australia Longline  
Canada - Atlantic Harpoon  
Canada - Atlantic Drift Gillnet  
Canada - Atlantic Handline  
Chile Driftnet  
Indian Ocean Handline  
Indian Ocean Harpoon  
Indian Ocean Longline  
Indian Ocean - Sri Lanka Longline  
Mediterranean Drift Gillnet  
Mediterranean Handline  
Mediterranean Harpoon  
Mediterranean Pelagic Longline  
North Atlantic - Canada Pelagic Longline  
Pacific Ocean Harpoon  
Pacific Ocean - East Harpoon  
Pacific Ocean - North Pelagic Longline  
Pacific Ocean - South Pelagic Longline  
Pacific Ocean - South Drift Gillnet  
Peru Driftnet  
USA - Atlantic Harpoon  
USA - Atlantic Pelagic Longline  
USA - Atlantic Handline  
USA - California Drift Gillnet  
USA - Gulf of Mexico Pelagic Longline  
USA - Hawaii Drift Gillnet  
USA - Hawaii Harpoon  
USA - Hawaii (Including vessels landing in California) Shallow-Set Longline  
USA - North Atlantic Buoy  
Western and Central Pacific (North Pacific Stock) Handline  
Western and Central Pacific (South Pacific Stock) Handline  
Name Country State / Province
Albion Farms & Fisheries Canada British Columbia
American Fish & Seafood Company United States California
Anderson Seafoods Inc. United States California
Blue Ribbon Meats United States Ohio
Boston Sword and Tuna United States Massachusetts
Catalina Offshore Products United States California
Catanese Classic Seafood United States Ohio
Central Coast Seafood United States California
Channel Fish Processing Company, Inc. United States Massachusetts
Channel Seafoods International United States Florida
Cherry Point Seafoods United States South Carolina
City Fish Canada Alberta
Codfathers Seafood Market Canada British Columbia
Crystal Oceans United States Florida
Daily Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Dock-to-Dish United States New York
Dole & Bailey Inc. United States Massachusetts
Empire Fish Company United States Wisconsin
En Gros Pierre Canada Quebec
Euclid Fish Company United States Ohio
Fisherman's Market International Inc. Canada Nova Scotia
Foley Fish United States Massachusetts
Fortune Fish & Gourmet United States Illinois
Garden & Valley Isle Seafood, Inc. United States Hawaii
Global Food Networking Inc. United States Virginia
Harbor Pride Seafood United States California
Hilo Fish Company, Inc. United States Hawaii
Hudson Valley Seafood United States New York
Imperial Seafood and Shellfish Inc. United States Ohio
IncredibleFish, Inc. United States Florida
John Nagle Co. United States Massachusetts
Lee Fish USA United States California
Lotus Seafood Inc. United States California
Lusamerica Foods, Inc. United States California
Marx Foods United States Washington
Mikuni Wild Harvest United States Washington
Moalia Spain Murcia
Monterey Fish Market United States California
Mood Fisheries Ltd. Canada Nova Scotia
Moore's Seafood Inc. United States California
Norpac Fisheries Export United States Hawaii
North Atlantic, Inc. United States Maine
North Coast Fisheries LLC United States California
Northeast Oceans United States Massachusetts
Orca Bay Seafoods, Inc. United States Washington
Pacific Harvest Seafoods United States California
Pisces Impex Ltd. Canada Ontario
Precious Cargo Seafood Company United States Oregon
Profish Ltd. United States District of Columbia
PT. Hatindo Makmur Indonesia Bali
Raw Seafoods United States Massachusetts
Real Good Fish United States California
Red's Best United States Massachusetts
Royal Hawaiian Seafood United States California
Sammy's Seafood Inc United States Florida
Samuels & Son Seafood Company, Inc. United States Pennsylvania
Santa Monica Seafood, Inc. United States California
Sarasota Seafood Company United States Florida
Sea Delight, LLC. United States Florida
Sea Star Seafoods Canada Nova Scotia
Sea to Table, USA United States New York
Seacore Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Seasource, Inc. United States North Carolina
Seattle Fish Company United States Colorado
Seattle Fish Company - Kansas City United States Missouri
Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico United States New Mexico
Slade Gorton & Co Inc. United States Massachusetts
Stavis Seafoods United States Massachusetts
Steve Connolly Seafood Company Inc. United States Massachusetts
Thalassa Seafoods Belgium
The Fish Guys Inc. United States Minnesota
The Lone Star Fishing Company United States Texas
Tradex Foods Inc. Canada British Columbia
Triar Seafood Company United States Florida
Wild Fish Direct LLC United States Florida
Wild Local Seafood Co. United States California
Yonges Island Fish Company United States South Carolina