Blue Ocean Institute

NEED NAME Shorebird, Alaska by Carl Safina

Species is relatively abundant, and fishing methods cause little damage to habitat and other wildlife.
Swordfish – Atlantic Ocean (Shutome) These fish contain levels of mercury or PCBs that may pose a health risk to adults and children.

Swordfish are large, migratory fish found in temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. They grow reasonably fast and mature quickly.

Two populations of Swordfish occur in the Atlantic Ocean, one being the North Atlantic group and the other the South Atlantic group. The North Atlantic population is considered to be fully rebuilt. The population status of the South Atlantic Swordfish is uncertain but is currently considered to be above the management target of Biomass at Maximum Sustainable Yield.

The overall abundance ranking of the Atlantic Swordfish population is medium. There is significant management effort by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and member nations to maintain the Atlantic Swordfish population at sustainable levels.

Most Swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean are caught using pelagic longlines. Longlines may also catch unwanted or endangered animals like sharks, seabirds and sea turtles, and may negatively impact the abundance of these species. Some Swordfish are also caught using rod and reel, harpoons, and buoy gear which, because these gears are more selective, results in less bycatch.

Full species report here.

This fish may have high levels of mercury that could pose a health risk to adults and children. More info here about mercury in swordfish. Check out our mercury in seafood section.