Common Name Swordfish
Market Name broadbill, emperado
Scientific name Xiphias gladus

Sourcing Summary


50-200 lbs.

Swordfish quality can vary greatly because swordfish boats will be at sea for different lengths of time, from a few days to nearly a month. Swordfish has a firm, meaty texture and is a good source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, and zinc. Bright white or pink swordfish meat with a bright red bloodline denotes freshness. Avoid swordfish meat that is gray and bloodlines that are brown because that indicates lower quality fish. Peak swordfish landings are August through October, which is also when the prices tend to be low. Swordfish caught by California gillnet boats in the fall tend to be high quality fish, according to some buyers. Frozen swordfish is available year-round.

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Fresh Seasonal Availability


Culinary Composition





Cooking Methods

Advisory Concern



Nutrition facts

Serving Size: 100g
Amount per serving
Calories 121
Total Fat 4.01g
Cholesterol 39mg
Sodium 90mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Protein 19.8g
Omega-3 0.6g

Science & Management


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Conservation Criteria - Wild

Impact on Stock

Swordfish are large migratory predators found around the world that grow quickly during their first year of life and have few predators as adults, making them resilient to fishing pressure. North Atlantic swordfish were declared overfished in the late 1990s. In 1999, quotas there were reduced as part of a 10-year plan to help rebuild stocks. In 2013 the population was declared rebuilt at about 14% above its target level, according to NOAA’s FishWatch. 

Seafood Watch reports that swordfish populations in the Pacific Ocean appear to be healthy, and overfishing is not occurring there, but FishWatch warned that stock assessments results have been conflicting. In the Indian Ocean southwest region swordfish are below levels needed to produce the maximum sustainable yield, according to a 2014 Seafood Watch Report. Mediterranean swordfish populations have been declining and Seafood Watch considers the most likely scenario from the last assessment is that the population is overfished and slight overfishing is occurring there.

Habitat impacts (Wild)

Most swordfish worldwide are caught using longlines, which doesn’t come in contact with the seafloor so it has few impacts on the ocean habitat. Swordfish are also caught with rod and reel, harpoon, handlines, and buoy gear that also have minimal effects.


Longline gear used to catch swordfish can result in high levels of bycatch, including sharks, sea birds, juvenile swordfish, and endangered marine turtles. Shortfin mako sharks, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature categorizes as a vulnerable species, are caught incidentally in the Atlantic swordfish fishery. 

To reduce bycatch risks, fishermen in the U.S. Atlantic are required to use circle hooks and longliners in Hawaii operate under strict regulations to protect sea turtles. Rod and reel, harpoon, handlines, and buoy gear also used for catching swordfish result in less bycatch. Despite a 2002 European ban on driftnet gear, some swordfish in the Mediterranean continue to be caught with them.

Management effectiveness

Given the global distribution of swordfish, multiple groups are responsible for managing the fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries Service and Fisheries and Oceans Canada manage swordfish for the U.S. and Canada in the North Atlantic. Strict management measures there are helping to reduce bycatch and bycatch mortality, according to the FishWatch. 

Indian Ocean swordfish fisheries are managed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. Overall Seafood Watch gave management there a red recommendation because of compliance issues with IUU fishing, data reporting to the Commission from individual countries, lack of measures to improve monitoring and no total allowable catch in place.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council manages swordfish in Hawaiian waters. Management, which includes scientific research and monitoring, catch limits and permit number limits, is considered effective.

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission manage swordfish in the Pacific. Measures include annual catch limits, vessel number limits, scientific monitoring, and gear limits. Management in the Western and Central Pacific is considered moderately effective. While the IATTC adopted bycatch management measures in the Eastern Pacific, Seafood Watch reported that many don’t meet best practice requirements and that scientific advice is not always followed when setting measures.

Conservation Criteria - Farmed

Origin Method Ratings
All Other Origins All Other Fishing Methods  
Atlantic Ocean - North Harpoon  
Atlantic Ocean - North Drift Gillnet  
Atlantic Ocean - North Handlines and Hand-Operated Pole-and-Lines  
Atlantic Ocean - North Pelagic Longline    
Atlantic Ocean - South Drift Gillnet  
Atlantic Ocean - South Handlines and Hand-Operated Pole-and-Lines  
Atlantic Ocean - South Harpoon  
Atlantic Ocean - South Pelagic Longline    
Australia (MSC) Longline    
Brazil (FIP) Pelagic Longline      
Canada - Atlantic Drift Gillnet  
Canada - Atlantic (MSC) Pelagic Longline    
Chile Driftnet    
Indian Ocean Handline  
Indian Ocean Harpoon  
Indian Ocean Longline    
Indonesia (FIP) Longline      
Mediterranean Drift Gillnet  
Mediterranean Handline  
Mediterranean Harpoon  
Mediterranean Pelagic Longline    
North Atlantic - Canada Pelagic Longline    
Pacific Ocean - East Handlines and Hand-Operated Pole-and-Lines  
Pacific Ocean - East Harpoon    
Pacific Ocean - Northeast Drifting Longlines    
Pacific Ocean - Northwest Drifting Longlines    
Pacific Ocean - Northwest Handlines and Hand-Operated Pole-and-Lines  
Pacific Ocean - South Harpoon    
Pacific Ocean - Southeast Pelagic Longline    
Pacific Ocean - Southeast Drift Gillnet    
Pacific Ocean - Southwest Pelagic Longline    
Pacific Ocean - Southwest Handlines and Hand-Operated Pole-and-Lines  
Pacific Ocean - Southwest Drift Gillnet    
Peru Driftnet    
Peru (FIP) Pelagic Longline      
Sri Lanka Pelagic Longline    
Sri Lanka (FIP) Pelagic Longline      
USA - Atlantic Harpoon  
USA - Atlantic Pelagic Longline    
USA - Atlantic Handline  
USA - Atlantic (MSC) Pelagic Longline    
USA - California Drift Gillnet  
USA - Gulf of Mexico Pelagic Longline  
USA - Hawaii Drift Gillnet  
USA - Hawaii Harpoon    
USA - Hawaii (FIP) Longline      
USA - Hawaii (Including vessels landing in California) Shallow-Set Longline    
USA - North Atlantic Buoy  
Name Country State / Province
Albion Farms & Fisheries Canada British Columbia
American Fish & Seafood Company United States California
Anderson Seafoods Inc. United States California
Blue Ribbon Meats United States Ohio
Boston Sword and Tuna United States Massachusetts
Catalina Offshore Products United States California
Catanese Classic Seafood United States Ohio
Central Coast Seafood United States California
Channel Fish Processing Company, Inc. United States Massachusetts
Channel Seafoods International United States Florida
Chefs Trading United States District of Columbia
Cherry Point Seafoods United States South Carolina
City Fish Canada Alberta
Codfathers Seafood Market Canada British Columbia
Crystal Oceans United States Florida
Daily Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
DiCarlo Seafood Company United States California
Dock-to-Dish United States New York
Empire Fish Company United States Wisconsin
En Gros Pierre Canada Quebec
Euclid Fish Company United States Ohio
Fisherman's Market International Inc. Canada Nova Scotia
Flying Fish Company United States Oregon
Foley Fish United States Massachusetts
Fortune Fish & Gourmet United States Illinois
Garden & Valley Isle Seafood, Inc. United States Hawaii
Global Food Networking Inc. United States Virginia
Harbor Pride Seafood United States California
Hilo Fish Company, Inc. United States Hawaii
Hudson Valley Seafood United States New York
Imperial Seafood and Shellfish Inc. United States Ohio
IncredibleFish, Inc. United States Florida
John Nagle Co. United States Massachusetts
Lee Fish USA United States California
Lotus Seafood Inc. United States California
Lusamerica Foods, Inc. United States California
Macgregors Meat & Seafood Ltd. Canada Ontario
Marx Foods United States Washington
Mikuni Wild Harvest United States Washington
Moalia Spain Murcia
Monterey Fish Market United States California
Mood Fisheries Ltd. Canada Nova Scotia
Moore's Seafood Inc. United States California
Norpac Fisheries Export United States Hawaii
North Atlantic, Inc. United States Maine
North Coast Fisheries LLC United States California
Northeast Oceans United States Massachusetts
Orca Bay Seafoods, Inc. United States Washington
Pacific Harvest Seafoods United States California
Pisces Impex Ltd. Canada Ontario
Precious Cargo Seafood Company United States Oregon
Profish Ltd. United States District of Columbia
PT. Hatindo Makmur Indonesia Bali
Raw Seafoods United States Massachusetts
Real Good Fish United States California
Red's Best United States Massachusetts
Royal Hawaiian Seafood United States California
Sammy's Seafood Inc United States Florida
Samuels & Son Seafood Company, Inc. United States Pennsylvania
Santa Monica Seafood, Inc. United States California
Sarasota Seafood Company United States Florida
Sea Delight, LLC. United States Florida
Sea Star Seafoods Canada Nova Scotia
Sea to Table, USA United States New York
Seacore Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Seafarers, Inc. United States Florida
Seasource, Inc. United States North Carolina
Seattle Fish Company United States Colorado
Seattle Fish Company - Kansas City United States Missouri
Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico United States New Mexico
Slade Gorton & Co Inc. United States Massachusetts
Stavis Seafoods United States Massachusetts
Steve Connolly Seafood Company Inc. United States Massachusetts
Thalassa Seafoods Belgium
The Fish Guys Inc. United States Minnesota
The Lone Star Fishing Company United States Texas
Tradex Foods Inc. Canada British Columbia
Triar Seafood Company United States Florida
Wild Fish Direct LLC United States Florida
Wild Local Seafood Co. United States California
Yonges Island Fish Company United States South Carolina