The Atlantic Blue Marlin – The National Fish of the Bahamas

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Makaira nigricans - The Atlantic Blue Marlin is the National fish of the Bahamas as it is often found in the waters of Bimini and in the Southern parts of the Bahamas. Not only is it on the crest of the Bahamas but it is also printed on the one hundred dollar note. Giving the currency the name ‘marlin’

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An unusually gorgeous and seldom photographed creature is the Blue Marlin. It is the largest of all the Atlantic Marlins and one of the world’s largest fish. It is a native to the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and is among the most recognizable of all fish.  Cobalt blue on the dorsal side (the top) and silvery white on the ventral side (the abdomen) with more than a dozen rows of blue spots and light-blue or lavender vertical stripes on its side and a tail that is high and crescent-shaped it is a force to be reckoned with. Females, which are significantly larger than males, can reach 14 feet long while the average size tend to be around 11 feet and can weigh roughly 200 to 400 pounds.  The fish has a pronounced dorsal fin and a long, lethal, spear-shaped upper jaw which is used to slash through dense schools of fish, returning to eat their stunned and wounded victims.  They are among the fastest fish in the ocean feeding on mackerel and tuna, but will also dive deep to eat squid.

Potential predators of the blue marlin include toothed whales such as the false killer whale and killer whale the short fin mako and great white shark but none however more effective than humans. They are hunted for their meat which is considered a delicacy, particularly in Japan, where it is served raw as sashimi.  It is because of man’s demand for the fish meat that it is over fished in the Caribbean.  Fishermen sell over a thousand tons of blue marlin meat per year.  This magnificent creature is listed as a threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and has been added to the seafood RED list of Greenpeace International.

blue-marlin_476_600x450Photograph by Tony Arruza/Corbis

The Atlantic Blue marlin is sought after as a highly prized game fish as it is known for putting up a good fight when hooked so much so that Ernest Hemingway used this monstrous creature in his book, the old man and the sea.

 

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header image from
http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2014/03/19/blue-marlin-attacks-oil-pipeline-halts-production-at-bp-facility/

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