Black Marlin Habitats

by Bridget on January 30, 2012

Found living exclusively in the deeps of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the black marlin is one of the most sought after fish on the planet. Having been immortalized by famous authors Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey, the black marlin holds the reputation of being a powerful, sleek, elusive creature. A very highly migratory fish, the black marlin almost never dives any deeper than a hundred feet beneath the ocean’s surface. This species, along with the blue marlin, also tends to live near underwater structures like reefs and continental shelves.

Comparing Black and Blue Marlins

Black and blue marlins are commonly mistaken for one another. Usually this happens when a fish is caught weighing less than 100 pounds. There are a few noticeable differences between blue and black marlins, however, that can be easily detected. One of the main differing characteristics of black and blue marlins is that a black marlin has a pectoral fin that, when pressed on, will not fold over. Another character trait difference is that the bill of a black marlin tends to be much shorter and heavier than a blue marlin. The black marlin is also the only marlin that has non-retractable fins on its body.

Physical Traits

In terms of color, the black marlin possesses a slate hue that turns into a silver belly. When excited, the black marlin has been known to show off light blue stripes as well. Some researchers have noted that a few black marlins obtain a silvery haze over their bodies. This caused some in the pacific to mistakenly label them “silver marlins”.  An enormous fish when mature, black marlins can reach lengths of up to 15 feet and weigh in at well over 1000 pounds. Most prize-winning black marlin that are caught a female, however, as it is extremely rare for a male black marlin to weigh more than 300 pounds. A black marlin’s diet consists of dolphin, squid, octopuses, swordfish, and tuna. It has been proven through stomach analysis that these fish use their long, sharp bills to conquer and eat their prey.

Hunting for Black Marlin

If you are trying to catch a black marlin there are a few tips you will need in order to be successful. First, it has been shown that a great way to catch black marlin involves live bait fish, trolling, and rigged bait. If you then are fortunate enough to lure a black marlin onto your hook, you are in for a very serious challenge. Fights with black marlin have been known to go on for several hours before either the angler or the fish give in. Also, if you have gotten a black marlin on your line you might also be lucky enough to see one of them majestically leap from the surface of the water early in your battle.

Demand for Black Marlin

Due to the nature of large scale commercial fishing, black marlins are in higher demand than ever because of the strain placed on fisheries around the world. In some places, it is now required by law that if you catch a black marlin, you must tag and release it. These laws have been put into place even though there has been no declaration by any governing agency that the species, including the blue marlin, has become endangered. In the United States, you can find black marlin in the frozen food section of your local grocery store. In japan, this species is in high demand for their flourishing sushi markets. However, some countries have banned the black marlin from public consumption due to the higher volume of mercury they contain compared to other species.

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