Istiompax indica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Istiophoridae

Scientific Name: Istiompax indica (Cuvier, 1832)
Common Name(s):
English Black Marlin
French Makaire Noir, Marlin Noir
Spanish Aguja Negra, Marlin Negro, Picudo Negro
Histiophorus brevirostris Playfair 1867
Istiompax australis Whitley 1931
Istiompax brevirostris (Playfair 1867)
Istiompax dombraini Whitley, 1954
Istiompax dombraini Whitely 1954
Istiompax indicus (Cuvier 1832)
Istiompax marlina (Jordan and Hill 1926)
Makaira brevirostris (Playfair 1867)
Makaira herscheri non Gray 1838
Makaira indica (Cuvier 1832)
Makaira indicus (Cuvier 1832)
Makaira marlina Jordan and Hill 1926
Makaira xantholineatus Deraniyagala 1956
Marlina marlina Jordan and Hill 1926
Tetrapturus australis Macleay 1854
Tetrapturus brevirostris (Playfair 1867)
Tetrapturus indica Cuvier 1832
Tetrapturus indicus Cuvier, 1832
Taxonomic Notes: This species previously was included in the genus Makaira (Collette et al. 2006).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2009-12-02
Assessor(s): Collette, B., Acero, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Carpenter, K.E., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E.
Reviewer(s): Russell, B., Elfes, C. & Polidoro, B.
This species is widespread in the Indo-Pacific. It is commercially and recreationally caught, and is caught as bycatch in longlines and purse seines throughout its range. There have been no stock assessments for this species, and only very limited catch and effort data is available. Given that it is caught with the same gears as the Blue Marlin and Striped Marlin, it is likely that the population of Black Marlin has declined as well, but there is no data to quantify this. In the Eastern Pacific, available catch data does not indicate any reduction in landings, however the impact of commercial fishing and sports fishing on the species is unknown. It is therefore listed for the present as Data Deficient. More information is needed on catch landings, discards and effort for this species.
For further information about this species, see TUNAS_SkiJumpEffect.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific, and occasionally enters temperate waters. Stray individuals migrate into the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Cape of Good Hope, but the existence of Atlantic breeding stocks is unlikely. In the Eastern Pacific it is found from southern California to the southwestern and northeastern Gulf of California to Chile, including all of the oceanic islands.
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Angola; Australia; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Benin; Cambodia; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Chile (Easter Is.); China; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Cook Islands; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Ecuador (Galápagos); Egypt; El Salvador; Eritrea; Fiji; French Polynesia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guam; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Honduras; India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Israel; Japan; Kenya; Kiribati; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Liberia; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nauru; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Niue; Norfolk Island; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; Pitcairn; Réunion; Russian Federation; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Samoa; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; United Arab Emirates; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands (US Line Is., Wake Is.); Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Mediterranean and Black Sea; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southeast
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no stock assessment for this species. Based on reported landings to FAO, the world catch for this species is variable, but shows a gradual increase from around 5,000 tonnes in the 1950s to 10,826 tonnes in 2006 and from 2,373 to 3,440 metric tonnes per year between 1978–1982. Many landings of marlins do not specify this species, and it is discarded when caught as by-catch by long-line fisheries, and is not quantified.

The landing information on marlins for the whole Pacific Ocean is not available, except for the FAO statistics. Based on the FAO Year Book (1996), recently 47,000 metric tons of marlins were caught in the Pacific. Blue Marlin occupied about 42% of the total catch, Striped Marlin occupied about 25%, Sailfish 10%, and Black Marlin 5%, but “marlins” occupied 19% of the total, respectively. The category of “marlins” includes catch of other marlins than Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Black Marlin, and Sailfish, and also includes the catch of species unknown. International management authority of the Black Marlin in the Pacific is shared by the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). There has never been an assessment of the status of black marlin in the Pacific, but landings trends over the past thirty years have been generally declining.

In the Indian Ocean, catch per unit effort (CPUE) exhibited dramatic declines since the beginning of the fishery in the 1950s with catches in the initial fishing grounds decreasing substantially. Nominal CPUE in the northwestern Australian area has declined from 2.0 to about 0.25 (approximately 87%) since 1977, while nominal CPUE in the Seychelles area has been very low and has declined from 0.3 to 0.2 (30% decline) since the 1970s (IOTC 2009).

In the Eastern Pacific, FAO (2006) landing data from 1995–2005 has shown a rapid increase from 300 metric tonnes to 1,400 metric tonnes. Landings data from IATTC (2008) for Black Marlin taken by purse seine and long-line in the Eastern Pacific vary from 100 to 417 metric tonnes per year from 1978 to 2007, with a uniformly low catch. However, Black Marlin are often difficult to identify and the catch of unidentified billfishes increased from a few hundred to thousands of metric tonnes during this time frame. In the Eastern Pacific specifically, quantities of billfish caught are not attributed to a single species and many countries are not reporting the catch.

In Mexico, the majority of the marlin catch comes from the Gulf of California (89%), the remainder coming from the Gulf of Tehuantepec (11%). The total recreational catch of billfish has increased since 1990 (first year of reported data) from approximately 12,000 to 33,000 fish in 2005. Recreational fishing effort has also been increasing during the same time period from approximately 4,000 fishing trips in 1990 to 37,000 trips in 2005. Striped Marlin is the dominate species caught in the recreational fishery accounting for approximately 68% of the total catch. Sailfish account for 25% of the total recreational catch, followed Blue Marlin at 7% and Black Marlin at < 1% (ISC 2007).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This pelagic and oceanodromous species is usually found in surface waters above the thermocline at temperatures from 15–30°C, often close to land masses, islands and coral reefs. It is found to depths of 100 m. It feeds on fishes, squids, cuttlefishes, octopods, large decapod crustaceans, and mostly on small tunas such as Skipjack, Yellowfin, Bigeye, and Frigate tunas (Nakamura 1985). This species can grow to be 700 kg.

Billfishes are at or near the apex of pelagic food webs, have broad diets, grow very rapidly, have high fecundity, and, in some cases show long-distance migrations (Kitchell et al. 2006). All billfish live at least 9–12 years, with a fecundity of 0.75 to 19 million eggs, increasing with size. Females are usually larger than males, and larvae are pelagic (Collette 2010).

Males and females are indistinguishable externally, but females attain a much larger size. Sex ratio varies with area and season. In Taiwan waters, all black marlin greater than 270 cm LJFL were females. Length of males at first maturity was about 140 cm, and 230 cm for females. Age at first maturity not known. Intensive spawning occurs in the Coral Sea, especially during October and November. Water temperatures about 27–28°C during spawning.  Egg counts of ripe females totalled about 40 million (Collette 2010).

The all-tackle game fish record is of a 707.61 kg fish caught off Cabo Blanco, Peru in 1953 (IGFA 2011).
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: An important commercial species. The flesh is of good quality; marketed refrigerated, smoked or frozen and prepared as sashimi in Japan (Nakamura 1985).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Caught mainly by commercial longliners, trolling, harpooning and sometimes by set nets and gill nets. It is mostly caught by surface tuna long liners. This species may potentially be threatened by artisanal and commercial long-line fisheries, and it is commonly taken as bycatch in purse seiners, and it is sometimes discarded. It is a important species in sport fisheries, and is targeted by artisanal fisheries.

This species is taken as bycatch similar to blue and striped marlin, primarily in long-lines and secondarily in purse seines, but the quantity is generally not recorded. There is a significant lack of  CPUE data.

In the Eastern Pacific, this species is caught by tuna longliners and is also a very important sportsfish off Peru, Ecuador, and northeastern Australia (Matsumoto and Bayliff 2008). Little data exists for landing data from countries in the Eastern Pacific.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (FAO Fisheries Department 1994).

Size limitations, encouragement of catch-and-release sport fishing, and recommendations for using circle hooks instead of J-hooks are measures designed to increase survival in catch-and-release sport fishing (Serafy 2009).

Marlin species are a special case because by-catch in the longline fisheries concentrating primarily on tunas causes the majority of fishery mortality (>90%) for marlin (Kitchell et al. 2004). In the Pacific, marlin are most frequently captured on the shallow hooks of a longline set (those close to the floats), and removing less than 15% of the hook sets adjacent to floats would decrease marlin catch by as much as 50% (Kitchell et al. 2004).

In the Eastern Pacific, Billfish cannot be taken commercially in Peru, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, and all recreational fishing is catch and release in Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. It is protected in Mexico, as there is a 50 miles coastal zone area where this species cannot be taken commercially, and there is a larger conservation zone off of Baja California where it cannot be taken commercially. Commercial harvest in Costa Rica is limited to15% of all landings.

Citation: Collette, B., Acero, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Carpenter, K.E., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. 2011. Istiompax indica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170312A6742465. . Downloaded on 24 May 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided