Billfish


Billfish

The term billfish is applied to a number of different large, predatory fish characterised by their large size (swordfish can be over 4 metres long) and their long, sword-like bill. Billfish include the sailfish and marlin, which make up the family Istiophoridae, and the swordfish, sole member of the family Xiphiidae. They are important apex predators feeding on a wide variety of smaller fish and cephalopods. While billfish are most common in tropical and subtropical waters, swordfish in particular are sometimes found in temperate waters as well.

Exploitation and conservation

Billfish are exploited both as food and as game fish. Marlin and sailfish are eaten in many parts of the world, and important sport fisheries target these species, for example off the Atlantic coast of Florida. Because of worries about declining populations, sport fishermen and conservationists now work together to gather information on billfish stocks and implement programs such as catch and release, whereby fish are returned to the sea after they have been caught.

Swordfish are large and have meat that is firm and tasty, and are subject to intense fisheries pressure, and in many places where they were formerly abundant they are now comparatively rare.

External links

* [http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/FamilySummary.cfm?ID=419 Family Istiophoridae at Fishbase.org]
* [http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/FamilySummary.cfm?ID=417 Family Xiphiidae at Fishbase.org]
* [http://www.billfish.org/ The Billfish Foundation]
* [http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/superfish/ PBS/BBC/NHK Documentary "Superfish"]
* [ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/009/ac480e/ac480e00.pdf Billfishes of the World - FAO]


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  • billfish — ☆ billfish [bil′fish΄ ] n. pl. billfish or billfishes (see FISH) any of various fishes with long, narrow jaws that resemble a beak, as many gars or swordfish; esp., any of a family (Istiophoridae) of percoid fishes, as the marlin …   English World dictionary

  • Billfish — Bill fish (b[i^]l f[i^]sh ), n. (Zo[ o]l.) A name applied to several distinct fishes: (a) The garfish ({Tylosurus longirostris}, or {Belone longirostris}) and allied species. (b) The saury, a slender fish of the Atlantic coast ({Scomberesox… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • billfish — Saury Sau ry, n.; pl. {Sauries}. [Etymol. uncertain.] (Zo[ o]l.) A slender marine fish ({Scomberesox saurus}) of Europe and America. It has long, thin, beaklike jaws. Called also {billfish}, {gowdnook}, {gawnook}, {skipper}, {skipjack},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • billfish — /bil fish /, n., pl. (esp. collectively) billfish, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) billfishes. any of various fishes having a long, sharp bill or snout, as a gar, needlefish, or saury. [1775 85, Amer.; BILL2 + FISH] * * * Any of… …   Universalium

  • billfish — /ˈbɪlfɪʃ/ (say bilfish) noun (plural billfish or billfishes) any of various large game fish as the marlin, or the sailfish, in which the upper jaw projects in a long spear like process. Usage: For variation in the plural inflection, see note at… …   Australian English dictionary

  • billfish — dėmėtoji kaimanžuvė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Lepisosteus oculatus angl. billfish; short nosed gar; spotted gar rus. пятнистая панцирная щука ryšiai: platesnis terminas – ilgasnukės kaimanžuvės …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • billfish — ilgasnukė kaimanžuvė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Lepisosteus osseus angl. billfish; common; garpike; long nosed gar rus. длиннорылый панцирник ryšiai: platesnis terminas – ilgasnukės kaimanžuvės …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • billfish — noun Date: 1782 a fish with long slender jaws; especially any of various bony fishes (families Istiophoridae and Xiphiidae) with an elongated tapering upper jaw including marlins, spearfishes, and sailfishes …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • billfish — Marlins, sailfish, spearfish and swordfish; that is, where the snout is extended into a bill or spear …   Fisheries — dictionary

  • billfish — a general term for those fishes having a bill, e.g. swordfishes, Xiphiidae …   Dictionary of ichthyology