Family: Istiophoridae (Billfishes)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
FishBase name: Atlantic sailfish
Max. size: 315 cm TL (male/unsexed; Ref. 43); max. published weight: 58.1 kg (Ref. 43)
Environment: pelagic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine ; depth range - 40 m
Climate: subtropical; 21 - 28°C; 50°N - 40°S
Importance: fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
Distribution: Atlantic Ocean: in tropical and temperate waters approximately 40°N in the northwest Atlantic, 50°N in the northeast Atlantic, 40°S in the southwest Atlantic, and 32°S in the southeast Atlantic. Migrating to Mediterranean Sea, mostly based on juvenile specimens. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139). Some authors recognize a single worldwide species, Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw 1792) but we follow Nakamura 1990 (Ref. 10820) retaining the usage of Istiophorus platypterus for the Indo-Pacific sailfish and Istiophorus albicans for the Atlantic sailfish in recognition of differences between them.
Biology: Usually found in the upper layers of warm water above the thermocline, but also capable of descending to rather deep water. Often migrates into near-shore waters. Occasionally forms schools or smaller groups of 3 to 30 individuals, but often occurs in loose aggregations over a wide area. Feeds mainly on small pelagic fishes but also takes bottom-dwelling organisms. Utilized fresh, canned and frozen; eaten steamed (Ref. 9987).