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Marlin - Blue Marlin Kajiki

Blue Marlin Flavor Scale

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Blue Marlin (Kajiki) Flavor Profile

Blue Marlin has a mildly pronounced flavor with a very firm, almost steak-like texture.  The flesh color ranges from white to pink depending upon diet, although it varies somewhat from fish to fish.  Flesh with a high fat content has a natural sheen.  Marlin are highly prized in Japan for sashimi.  Blue Marlin (Kajiki) is served as sashimi, but Striped Marlin (Nairagi) is considered to be the best Marlin for sashimi.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Alternate Names

Kajiki, Sailfish, Spikefish, A`u (Hawaiian for all Marlin), Kurokajiki (Japanese)

Description (Makaira nigricans)

The blue marlin is part of the billfish family and is the largest of the marlins.  They commonly grow to 11 feet and are known to exceed 2,000 pounds, but average market size is 80 - 300 pounds.

They are cobalt blue on top shading to silvery white on bottom, although colors can vary by region, leading to the belief that there may in fact be two distinct species - Atlantic Blue Marlin (M. nigricans) and Indo-Pacific Blue Marlin (M. mazara).  The upper jaw is elongated in the form of a spear, the dorsal fin is pointed at front end with no spots, and pectoral fin and anal fin are pointed. The lateral line is reticulated (interwoven like a net), making it difficult to see in large specimens. The body of the blue marlin is covered with imbedded scales ending in one or two sharp points.

Typical Wholesale Products

Loins, Steaks

kajiki Blue Marlin jpg
photo by www.honolulufish.com

Atlantic Blue Marlin jpg
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Blue Marlin Fresh Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh.  Frozen available all year long.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec


Blue Marlin Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery

ItemTo Skin/On FilletsTo Skin/Off FilletsNotes
Whole Head/Off gutted 70% 60% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Top Back Loin 92% 85%
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

Blue Marlin are native to the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.  They are highly migratory and may travel thousands of miles following the warm ocean currents.  They feed on mackeral, tuna and squid.

Blue Marlin Range jpg
AquaMaps     Data sources: GBIF OBIS


Blue Marlin Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
Blue Marlin Kajiki, Sailfish, A`u, Kurokajiki Wild Hawaii Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png Elevated
Blue Marlin Kajiki, Sailfish, A`u, Kurokajiki Wild US Atlantic, Imported Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Elevated
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.

 Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended     Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative     Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not Recommended
August 2013

Sustainability concerns about Blue Marlin are two-fold. There is uncertainty about the specie's population being able to keep pace with demand. And there is a lot of concern regarding bycatch, especially from fleets outside of the Hawaiian fishery.


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving

* Calories/Calories from fat 209
* Protein grams 33
* Fat grams 13.2
* Saturated fat grams 4.4
* Sodium milligrams 175
* Cholesterol milligrams 309
* Omega-3 grams  




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David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of Chefs-Resources.com, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
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