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Facts about Swordfish for Kids

Swordfish also known as broadbill in some countries, are large, highly migratory, predatory fish 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. The swordfish is named after its bill resembling a sword.

  • This makes it superficially similar to other billfish such as marlin, but upon examination their physiology is quite different and they are members of different families.
  • Females are larger than males, and Pacific swordfish reach a greater size than northwest Atlanticand Mediterranean swordfish.
  • They reach maturity at 4–5 years of age and the maximum age is believed to be at least 9 years.
  • Swordfish are ectothermic animals; however, swordfish, along with some species of shark, have special organs next to their eyes to heat their eyes and brain.
  • Temperatures of 10 to 15 °C above the surrounding water temperature have been measured.
  • 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.
  • In the northwestern Atlantic, a survey based on the stomach content of 168 individuals found that 82% had eaten squid and 53% had eaten fish, including gadids, scombrids, butterfish, bluefish and sand lance.
  • Boaters report this to be a beautiful sight, as is the powerful jumping for which the species is known.
  • Among marine mammals, at least killer whales sometimes prey on adult swordfish.
  • Juvenile swordfish are far more vulnerable to predation and are eaten by a wide range of predatory fish.
  • Spawning is year-round in the Caribbean Sea and other warm regions of the west Atlantic.
  • Swordfish have been fished widely since ancient times, among others in the sea between Sicily and Calabria, such as off the Tyrrhenian coast in the Reggio province.
  • Swordfish were harvested by a variety of methods at small scale (notably harpoon fishing) until the global expansion of long-line fishing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The FDA recommends that young children, pregnant women, and women of child-bearing age not eat swordfish.
  • There is some controversy over the kashrut status of swordfish, because adult fish lose their scales The Tzitz Eliezer 9:40 says they are forbidden, while Rabbi Hershel Schachter maintains that swordfish is kosher, because the Torah does not specify what the scales have to look like.
  • 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.