Swordfish

Swordfish

Swordfish, © Amadeo Bachar

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Swordfish from U.S.
OK
Elevated

MORE ABOUT SWORDFISH FROM U.S.

A voracious predator, the swordfish uses its 2-3 foot sword nose to spear prey. Popular with diners, it has been severely overfished, particularly in Atlantic waters. It lives a short, fast life, growing quickly to as much as 14 feet, or 4.3 meters.

Commercial Sources

Swordfish are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. They occur in tropical, temperate and sometimes cold waters.

The main sources of swordfish are Taiwan, Japan and Spain. Swordfish sold in the U.S. market are primarily from Singapore, Mexico, Brazil and Chile.

Capture Methods

Swordfish come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with longlines. Additional types of fishing gear include harpoons, gillnets and trawls.

+-Swordfish (imported)
Worst
Elevated

MORE ABOUT SWORDFISH FROM U.S.

A voracious predator, the swordfish uses its 2-3 foot sword nose to spear prey. Popular with diners, it has been severely overfished, particularly in Atlantic waters. It lives a short, fast life, growing quickly to as much as 14 feet, or 4.3 meters.

Commercial Sources

Swordfish are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. They occur in tropical, temperate and sometimes cold waters.

The main sources of swordfish are Taiwan, Japan and Spain. Swordfish sold in the U.S. market are primarily from Singapore, Mexico, Brazil and Chile.

Capture Methods

Swordfish come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with longlines. Additional types of fishing gear include harpoons, gillnets and trawls.

+-Swordfish (harpoon/hand line)
Unrated
Elevated

MORE ABOUT SWORDFISH FROM U.S.

A voracious predator, the swordfish uses its 2-3 foot sword nose to spear prey. Popular with diners, it has been severely overfished, particularly in Atlantic waters. It lives a short, fast life, growing quickly to as much as 14 feet, or 4.3 meters.

Commercial Sources

Swordfish are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. They occur in tropical, temperate and sometimes cold waters.

The main sources of swordfish are Taiwan, Japan and Spain. Swordfish sold in the U.S. market are primarily from Singapore, Mexico, Brazil and Chile.

Capture Methods

Swordfish come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with longlines. Additional types of fishing gear include harpoons, gillnets and trawls.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Swordfish (imported) Mercury 1 0 0 0
Swordfish from U.S. Mercury 1 0 0 0
Swordfish (harpoon/hand line) Mercury 1 0 0 0
Eco details: 
  • Most swordfish are caught with longlines, which have high bycatch of juvenile billfish, sea turtles, seabirds and sharks.
  • Although the U.S. has imposed strict regulations in the Pacific to reduce bycatch of endangered sea turtles, foreign fleets are not subject to these restrictions, and there is no international management for swordfish in the Pacific.
  • U.S. swordfish populations are almost fully recovered in the North Atlantic.
  • Swordfish caught by harpoon and handline in the U.S. and Canada, though not widely available, are the best environmental choice for this species.