MARLIN, black / Makaira indica Cuvier, 1831); ISTIOPHORIAE FAMILY; also called white marlin (Japan), silver marlin (Hawaii)

Occurs in the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans. In tropical areas distribution is scattered but continuous in open waters; denser in coastal areas and near islands. In temperate waters occurrence is ran;. A few stray black marlin travel around the Cape of Good Hope into the Atlantic, moving up the southwest coast of Africa until they
roach the Ivory Coast. Some have been known to cross the ocean from there, traveling in a southwesterly direction as far as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or in a northwesterly direction as far as the Atlantic coasts of the Lesser Antilles. Such excursions are, however, regarded as exceptional and very rare. Little is known of the migrations of this pelagic species, but they do not appear to be extensive except in unusual cases.

Ile black marlin can be quickly and positively identified since it is the only marlin that has rigid pectoral fins that cannot be folded fiat up against the body without breaking the joints. The black marlin is also set apart by the airfoil shape of the pectoral fins and by its very short ventral fins, which almost never exceed 12 inches in length, regardless of the size o' the fish. The lateral line, which is rarely visible in adults, is a straight double row of pores. The first dorsal fin is proportionately the lowest of any billfish, usually less than 50 percent of the body depth. The body is laterally compressed, rather than rounded; much more so than in similar sized blue marlin.

The body is slate blue dorsally, changing abruptly to silvery white below the lateral line. When feeding or leaping, the black marlin may display light blue vertical stripes on the sides (see striped marlin coloration). Slight variations in color cause some specimens to have a silvery haze over the body. In Hawaii this has led to the name "silver marlin" (once thought to be a separate species). The name "white marlin" applied in Japan refers to the color of the meat, rather than the external color of the fish.

One of the most highly rated game fish, the black marlin has the power, size, and persistence of which anglers dream. Its diet consists of squid and pelagic fishes. Fishing methods include trolling with large, whole baits (mackerel, bonito, flying fish, squid and others) or with artificial lures. Live bait is also effective. The meat of the black marlin is firm and white and commands a high price on the commercial market.

Though there are some notable exceptions, giant black marlin tend to be larger than giant blue marlin taken on rod and reel. This may be because large black marlin are more accessible and more often occur within the range of sportfishing vessels. Japanese longline fishermen contend that giant blue marlin taken far out at sea beyond the range of sportfishing boats are larger than giant blacks. Blue marlin, or any marlin, larger than 3110 16 (136 kg) are almost always females. A 500 16 (226.7 kg) male is a rarity.