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White marlin Makaira albida (Poey) 1860

[Jordan and Evermann, 1896-1900, p. 892, Tetrapterus imperator (Bloch and Schneider) 1801, in part.]

White marlin (Makaira albida)

Figure 189.—White marlin (Makaira albida). From Goode.


The white marlin differs from its larger relative the blue marlin in its rounded first dorsal and pectoral fins, in the pale color of the lower part of its sides, and in its white belly (p. 359); and in its smaller size. Few grow larger than 125 pounds; the rod and reel record stands at 161 pounds.[3] This fish was 8 feet 8 inches long.

General range—

Western North Atlantic; common in Cuban and Bahaman waters, and off southern Florida; north regularly in summer to the offing of Delaware Bay in abundance, and to southern New England waters in lesser numbers.

Occurrence in the Gulf of Maine—

So many white marlin come northward, as far as New York waters that about 500 were taken off Montauk, Long Island, on rod and reel during the 11 years 1925-1936, and more than 150 in 1935 alone.[4] And a few are caught off the southern Massachusetts Islands in most summers.

But their usual turning point is west of Nantucket. True, Farrington[5] speaks of "great quantities" of them as seen on Georges Bank; but we cannot find that any marlin caught there has been identified positively as a white, though one about 5 feet long taken on August 5, 1925 (p. 359) may perhaps have been one. The meager record suggests that they may stray oftener to outer Nova Scotian waters, for a 5-foot fish weighing 21 pounds, caught on Sable Island Bank, August 18, 1931, probably was a white marlin, while Farrington reports one harpooned off Glace Bay near Sidney, in 1945, and others sighted off Halifax that same year.

[3] One caught off Miami, Fla., Mar. 20, 1938, by L. F. Hooper.

[4] Information supplied by Frank Mather of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

[5] In Vesey-Fitzgerald and Lamonte, Game Fish of the World. 1949, p. 155.