Sailfish Classification

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Names and Classification

(Istiophorus albicans)
Atlantic Sailfish

Synonyms: ocean gar, ocean guard, Pacific sailfish, and sailfish. Other common names are abanico (Spanish), aguja (Spanish), aguja de abanico (Spanish), aguja vela (Spanish), atlanticheskii parusnik (Russian)

Family: Istiophoridae (sailfish)

Description The Sailfish (Istiophorus albicans) is a long slender fish, with a large dorsal fin. It is most recognizable when its dorsal fin is extended, looking like a boat with a wide mainsail. The sailfish is dark blue dorsally and silver ventrally. On its sides rows of longitudinal stripes consisting of small blue dots (ARKive 2010). The fins are usually blue, with dorsal fin being purplish with lots of small dark black spots. Sailfish
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Females swim gently near the surface with their dorsal fin almost out of the water. One or more males will accompany her and spawn near the surface. The females release up to 4 million eggs at once (Susie 2009).
Feeding Habits Sailfish feed on Cephalopods and bony fishes mostly (Júnior, et al., 2004) Squid, octopus, mackerels, tunas, jacks, halfbeaks, and needlefish are the most commonly eaten prey. This indicates feeding occurs near the surface, in midwater, and along reef edges (Júnior, et al., 2004).

Endangered Species Status The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) manages the sailfish under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to insure the long-term sustainability of fishery stocks. Commercial vessels U.S. flagged are prohibited from selling, retaining, or purchasing sailfish. Recreational fishers must obtain a permit from NOAA fisheries for fishing in federal waters and state regulations may also apply (Susie 2009). Sailfish populations have been depleted, and don’t look like they are getting any better. However, populations appear to have remained relatively stable since the 1980s based on the observations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) (ARKive

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