What is the fastest fish in the ocean? Not all experts agree, but one species widely considered the titleholder is the sailfish, capable of reaching top speeds of nearly 70 mph. Let’s dive deeper into the features and behaviors of this swift and agile predator.
Sailfish, also known as billfish, are easily recognizable due to their sail-like dorsal fin that extends for almost the entire length of their silver-blue body. Their upper jaw is significantly longer than their lower jaw, forming a distinctive bill that resembles a spear. This bill comes in handy for slashing at larger prey fish, which stuns them into submission. Working together in groups of two or more, sailfish also thrash at and disrupt schools of smaller fish like sardines and anchovies, making it easier for each sailfish to catch its meals. Together, they use their huge dorsal fins to create a fence around their prey, preventing their victims from escaping.
Sailfish are a type of billfish, which includes other species like marlins, swordfish, and roundscale spearfish. They are pelagic, meaning they prefer the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific, and can be found in groups, feeding on smaller fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods such as octopus, squid, and cuttlefish.
Although popular with sport anglers, sailfish cannot be commercially harvested in U.S. waters, except as incidental catch in Pacific longline and gillnet fisheries. Possession of sailfish is also prohibited on commercial fishing vessels in the Atlantic.
In conclusion, while not all experts may agree, sailfish are widely recognized as one of the fastest fish in the ocean, thanks to their impressive speed and unique features that allow them to be efficient predators. It’s fascinating to learn about these creatures and their behavior in the open ocean.