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Swordfish are most distinctively known for the sword extending from its head, while possessing additional features such as dark gray skin on top and light gray/white skin on bottom of its long, contoured body. This is a larger, pelagic fish with commercial landings generally ranging between fifty and four-hundred pounds, though capable of weighing up to one ton.
Fresh swordfish are pursued worldwide by the fleets of more than twenty nations. In the United States, swordfish are caught from Maine to Louisiana as they migrate up and down the East Coast. In the Atlantic, almost all wholesale swordfish are caught using longlines, although very small volumes are landed by harpoon and hook-line. In the Pacific, the Hawaiian sword fleet uses longlines, while the California fleet fishing methods can vary.
Longlines are used because swordfish are not a schooling fish, rather choosing to travel in loose aggregations or solo. Therefore, a longline fishing vessel will cast out a “long line” with baited hooks dropped from attached snood lines spread out in intervals along the long line. The goal of this method is to make for a more effective trip. Opposed to casting out single hook-lines and taking these beasts on one at a time with a harpoon, or resorting to less sustainable methods, longline methods enable fisherman to maximize the impact of their limited fishing time while out on a trip. In addition to this, longline methods enable the fish to relax in the water after being hooked, which produces better quality once brought on board.
It is argued that harpoon-caught sword produce better quality than longline-caught sword due to the fact they are headed and gutted immediately upon being caught, but we generally contest that. First, in order to produce the volume of high quality swordfish that we go through annually by harpoon methods, you are assuming that each individual hook-line cast out will not only reel in a quality swordfish every time, but also that when being caught – the fish is harpooned in a perfect spot where it doesn’t destroy the majority of the meat. Second, longline methods enable the fish to relax in the water after being caught. Sure, they put up a struggle at first, but eventually they accept defeat and relax, entering its mortality with the meat in a relaxed state, thus preserving quality. Harpoon methods cause swordfish to enter its mortal state in the peak of its struggle, causing the meat itself to tense up and often affecting quality.
A tight, rich-red bloodline in the meat is often associated with the highest quality swordfish. The off-white, natural color of its flesh is firm in texture, and its sweet flavor when cooked sets it apart from the rest. Swordfish is most regularly enjoyed in steak form and can be cooked on the grill, baked/broiled in the oven, or seared on the stove.
At BST, we pride ourselves on things like quality, price, sustainability, reliability, consistency, and overall customer satisfaction with our product. Our swordfish product line is a token of those qualities.