sailfish Pictures

 
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Sailfish Photos Showing The Fastest Fish in the Ocean

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Sailfish are two species of billfish related to marlin. The Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, lives in the Atlantic Oceans and the Caribbean Sea. The Indo-Pacific sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, lives in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Both species are dark blue on top, with a brown blue lateral line, and a silvery color belly. Sailfish get their name from the very distinctive first dorsal fin which is large, erect, and sail shaped, and stretches the entire length of the back. The sail is folded down for normal swimming, but raised when the fish is threatened, or when feeding to help herd a school of fish. The sail is lit up with bright colors when the sailfish is excited.

The top jaw of a sailfish is elongated into a spear shape like that of swordfish and marlin, and is used in hunting. They feed on the surface or in midwater, and eat squid, octopus, sardines, anchovies and other schooling fish. Sailfish will also eat tuna and mackerel, some of the fastest swimmers, and they are able to catch them because they are the fastest fish in the ocean, having been recorded swimming at more than 65 miles per hour.

Sailfish meat is tough and rarely eaten but they are highly prized “game” fish. When hooked, they will fight vigorously to save themselves, leaping and diving time after time, and only being landed after several hours, totally exhausted from the brutal fight.

The Atlantic sailfish has been driven down to nearly 50% of its sustainable levels, with fewer and fewer adults remaining alive each year. As this percentage drops, it becomes increasingly more difficult for males and females to find each other at spawning time in the vast oceans they inhabit. U.S. recreational fishermen voluntarily release over 95 percent of all billfish they catch. However the commercial fishing sector using longlines are responsible for 99 percent of the incidental kill caused by U.S. vessels. Commercial fishing fleets also are targeting the species that sailfish feed upon, making the situation worse.

The National Marine Fisheries Service manages the sailfish under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. All U.S. flagged commercial vessels are prohibited from selling, retaining, or purchasing Atlantic billfish including sailfish.

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Picture of a pelagic Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, attacking bait ball of Spanish sardines, Sardinella aurita, off Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Caribbean Sea, as a member of a cooperative hunting group.

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Image of an Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, La Guaira Bank, Venezuela, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean. c-r

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Stock photo of pelagic Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, attacking bait ball of Spanish sardines, Sardinella aurita, off Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Caribbean Sea, as a member of a cooperative hunting group. 22 sailfish are visible.

Image #: 036201

Photo of a pelagic Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, off Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Caribbean Sea

Image #: 036203

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Picture of an olive ridley sea turtle, Lepidochelys olivacea, killed by sailfish; the bill broke off after impaling turtle, East Pacific Ocean

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Image of a pelagic Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Caribbean Sea

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Stock photo of a "sport" fishing boat mate rigging lines at dawn with sailfish lures for a day of big game fishing Islamorada, Florida Keys, South Florida, Western Atlantic Ocean

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Photo of a pelagic Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, lit up with bright blue markings that indicate excitement, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Caribbean Sea

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Picture of a Pacific sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, brought alongside "sport" fishing boat prior to release, Guatemala, East Pacific

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Image of a sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, Cocos Island, Costa Rica, Pacific Ocean

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Stock photo of Indo-Pacific sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, prized as commercial species, one of the world's fastest fish, Mexico, Pacific Ocean

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Photo of an Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, lit up with intensified color pattern due to excitement while feeding on squid at night Bimini, Bahamas, Western Atlantic Ocean

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Picture of an Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, La Guaira Bank, Venezuela, Caribbean. c-r

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Image of pelagic Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, feeding on sardines that they have broken off from the small bait ball in background, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Caribbean Sea

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Stock photo of dead sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, Vakarufalhi, Ari Atoll, Maldives, Indian Ocean

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Photo of pelagic Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, using a cooperative hunting strategy to herd sardines into a baitball for easier feeding, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Caribbean Sea

Image #: 035915

 

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