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Distribution - Swordfish, also known as broadbill swordfish or broadbill, generally inhabit all Australian waters beyond the continental shelf and occur infrequently in the coastal waters of southern Australia. They prefer cooler, temperate waters. Swordfish typically move to surface waters at night and inhabit deeper waters during the day. These vertical movements may be rapid and indicate that the fish can tolerate a broad range of temperatures. Swordfish are generally solitary animals.
Size - Swordfish can reach a maximum length of 4.5 metres and a maximum weight of 540 kg. Male swordfish are rarely seen at sizes exceeding 90kg.
Characteristics - Swordfish are a member of the family Xiphiidae and they are easily recognised by their relatively long and wide flattened sword, which distinguishes them from the marlins and sailfish. They have dorsal fins that are widely separated and they do not possess ventral fins. A large keel is present on each side of the body in front of the tail. Swordfish are a blackish-brown on the upper body and a light brown on the lower body. Adult swordfish inhabiting deep oceanic waters feed on pelagic fish and squid. Those that inhabit shallower continental shelf waters are opportunistic feeders, preying on demersal and pelagic fish. Adult swordfish have no teeth or scales.
Confusing species - None.
Fishing tips - Larger swordfish are linefished at night using squid or live fish baits drifted near the edge of the continental shelf.