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Indo-Pacific sailfish Istiophorus platypterus

  Pelagic fish

Indo-Pacific sailfish

Virtual animal in augmented reality

The sailfish is one of the impressive figures that you will be able to discover in the Grand Large experience.

Indo-Pacific sailfish Istiophorus platypterus

Identity card

Indo-Pacific sailfish

Scientific name:
Istiophorus platypterus
Year of description:
Shaw, 1792
IUCN Status:

Not Evaluated


Tropical and temperate waters of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, in the Mediterranean.


Between 0 and 40 m, in the open sea and also near the coast.


2.7 m on average, 30 to 40 kg, 100 kg max.


Fish, crustaceans and cephalopods


13 years

Indo-Pacific sailfish Istiophorus platypterus

The sailfish is the fastest fish in the oceans: it can reach speeds of up to 100 km/h!


This speed was observed during a fishing catch when the sailfish unwound 91 m of fishing line in 3 seconds!

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Where is the animal to be found?

The sailfish is an oceanic and epipelagic fish (that is to say it lives at depths of between 0 and 200 metres) that is mainly found in waters close to the coast and around islands. Sometimes swimming in shoals or small groups spread over a large area, sailfish group together according to their size.

How can it be recognised?

  • Its midnight-blue coloured body with vertical stripes on its flanks is built for speed like the bodies of mackerel and tuna, its close relatives.
  • Its very slender bill adds to its good hydrodynamic characteristics.
  • It is recognisable by its sail-shaped fin.

What is distinctive about it?

  • This is a migratory fish that travels to breed in the Pacific Ocean. They breed during the summer months in the tropical and subtropical waters of the area where they are located.
  • Their reproductive behaviour is characterised by the pairing of a male and female or by a female being pursued by several males.
  • They reach sexual maturity at the age of two and a half, and sailfish have an estimated lifespan of 13 years.

Threat and protective measure

This species is often taken as bycatch, but it is also targeted by certain fisheries. It can be consumed fresh or smoked, and is used in sushi. It is also valued as a game fish, and this could constitute a threat for this species which lives in coastal waters and close to islands.

This highly migratory species is included in Appendix I of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (FAO, Fisheries Department, 1994).

Indo-Pacific sailfish Istiophorus platypterus

Where can I find it at Nausicaá?

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