American Oceans

The Endangered Blue Marlin

Blue Marlin is a targeted fishery species that is often the target for avid anglers in sportfishing tournaments.

blue marlin swimming after school of fish

However, if you’re new to fishing you might be wondering: Are Blue Marlin endangered?

In this article, I will cover some key information about Blue Marlins, including whether they are endangered to give you a better understanding of this species.

Keep reading to find out more.

Marlins are known to be big, powerful predators that are native to the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

In the warmer months, they migrate to the temperate zones, but return toward the equator during cooler months. 

The average female Blue Marlin is significantly larger and heavier than her male counterpart and can reach up to 14 feet in length and can weigh more than 1,985 pounds. Male Marlins rarely exceed 350 pounds.

Are Blue Marlin endangered?

Blue Marlins are often the target for a variety of sportfishing tournaments. Atlantic Blue Marlin are considered an iconic trophy fish.

However, anglers inspiring to get involved in this sport, you should be aware that Blue Marlins are listed as vulnerable to extinction.

To protect Marlin, the first measures were introduced in 2000 in an attempt to reduce accidental bycatch in commercial fishing gear.

Now, countries are legally required to release all live animals back into the ocean to reduce the amount of unnecessary deaths caused by the fishing industry.

In addition to this, the US is limited to a total recreational catch of 250 combined Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and roundscape spearfish. It is measures like these that aim to protect the Blue Marlin from becoming extinct.

That being said, Blue Marlin’s are so difficult to land, that approximately 77 blue marlin were landed in fishing tournaments last year.

Are you allowed to catch marlin?

Yes, you are allowed to catch marlin. However, as I mentioned above, the US is limited to a total recreational catch of 250 combined Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and roundscape spearfish.

The Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 prohibits any person from offering billfish or billfish products for sale, selling them, or having custody, control, or possession of them for purposes of offering them for sale.

That being said, you can participate in a variety of sportfishing tournaments depending on where you live. If you think that you need patience to fish in general, catching Marlin is a whole other ball game.

Fishing for Blue Marlin is often a game of patience defined by hours and hours of waiting. Once you have one on the line, however, it becomes a challenge of will and endurance. 

Many anglers tend to use live-bait to catch Marlin. Anything that the Blue Marlin is used to eating as a predator theoretically should work as bait. Bearing this in mind, you should try to pull your own bait from the ocean, hook it with a strong rig, and you’ll be set.

However, it’s important to mention that the bait is the least of your worries, and actually landing a Marlin is much trickier than you might expect!

Not only does a Marlin weigh an absolute tonne, but you’ll also be trying to fight to land it. So, it takes some serious skill!

Do Marlins die after being caught?

Sportfishing tournaments are hugely popular, with Marlins being an aggressive predator that puts up a large fight during the catch.

However, it is well known within the fishing community that some billfish, including Marlins, do occasionally die during the fight after being caught.

Marlins can usually be released unharmed after a half-hour fight without hesitation. That being said, after an hour things can become much more critical for the Marlin.

Unfortunately, big Marlins frequently die during or after the prolonged fight that they endure with the anglers trying to land this trophy species.

This has led to controversy around the sport of catching Marlins and game fishing in general, as many people argue that it is unnecessary for the species to die in the name of sport. 

However, whichever side of the debate you find yourself on, you should know that when Marlins are caught, they should be properly resuscitated.

A way anglers can achieve this is to slow the boat down, keeping the fish at the side, and moving forward slowly so that oxygen continues moving over the fish’s gills.

This provides the Marlin with a better chance of survival when they are released back into the water. 

Why do black marlin turn blue when they die?

Worldwide, Black Marlin are among the most sought-after game fish. Black Marlins can be easily distinguished from other marlins as they are the only marlin that have rigid pectoral fins that cannot be folded flat against the body.

Black Marlin are more closely related to striped/white marlin than blue marlin, the latter being more closely related to sailfish.

Blue Marlins are cobalt blue on top and silvery underneath with multiple rows of pale blue stripes running along their bodies. Black Marlins have faintly colored blue vertical stripes and shades of gold, green, white, or silver.

Like other billfish, the Marlin has pigment and light-reflecting cells that allow it to change color. This is why you often hear about Marlins lighting up in the water.

Sometimes referred to as the Bull of the Sea, the Black Marlin shows incredible strength and does not tire easily when they are caught.

In general, Black Marlin are known more for the experience of catching them than the experience of eating them though, and many anglers release them after catching one.

Final Thoughts

Blue Marlins are listed as vulnerable to extinction. To protect this species amongst other large billfish, there are a variety of measures in place to prevent overfishing. 

If you want to catch Blue Marlin, you will need to make sure that you do your research.

When it comes to sportfishing competitions, the US is limited to a total recreational catch of 250 combined Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and roundscape spearfish. 

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