Atlantic Ocean, north-west (FAO 21)
Handlines and pole-lines (hand operated), Harpoons
Swordfish are vulnerable to fishing pressure, because they reach sexual maturity quite late. The swordfish stock in the north west Atlantic Ocean is healthy. It is unknown whether there are also swordfish from the Mediterranean, where the stock is in a much worse state, caught in this area for swordfish can swim large distances.
The manual fishery with harpoons and handlines is very selective with little bycatch and no damage to the seabed. Swordfish is at the top of the oceanic food chain. The effect of the large-scale removal of these apex predators is unknown.
The swordfish stock in the north west Atlantic Oceanis managed by ICCAT. The management is largely effective.