Can You Safely Eat Blue Marlin? [Risks, Benefits & Ethics]

Blue Marlin are a species of billfish that are considered to be a trophy fish. Because of this, many of these fish are targeted during fishing tournaments.

Most tournaments release fish that they catch, but because Blue Marlins are such strong fighters when they are hooked that the fight sometimes takes their life. 

Blue Marlins have been placed on the list of vulnerable animals, which means they are on the verge of being endangered. Many Blue Marlins are caught in nets of fishermen and are killed. What happens when you eat blue marlin?

Generally speaking, eating Blue Marlin can be dangerous because they have high levels of mercury. It is advised that Blue Marlin should be cooked and not eaten raw. The Hawaiian Blue Marlin is the only Marlin fish that doesn’t have this problem. Blue Marlin fish is considered a good source of lean protein, which means it is a healthy alternative to some other types of meats.

Are Blue Marlin Safe To Eat?

Blue Marlin can have higher levels of mercury because they don’t have many predators.

The higher up on the food chain the sea creature is, the more mercury they will have in their body. 

As the Marlins age, their mercury count can get higher. If you eat Blue Marlin once a week, the levels of mercury shouldn’t affect you, but eating Blue Marlin more than once a week can be dangerous. 

Striped Marlin are not considered to be safe to eat, while the Hawaiian Blue Marlin is considered safe to eat without restrictions. 

Fun Fact

The Hawaiian Kajiki or Hawaiian Blue Marlin is found in Hawaii. Hawaii is a hot spot for these fish in the world of sport fishing.
They are not as colorful as the Atlantic Blue Marlin, but they tend to be much larger. Their size can range from 80 to 300 pounds. 

Are There Health Benefits To Eating Blue Marlin? 

As with any fish, the meat is lean meat, so it is healthier than other types of meat that is bought at the store.

The Hawaiian Blue Marlin is an excellent source of extra lean healthy protein, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, selenium, magnesium, iodine, and omega-3s. 

The Hawaiian Blue Marlin is considered safe to eat, so using this type of marlin to get your source of vitamins is perfect.

Many islands near Hawaii prepare traditional dishes with these fish. They prepare the fish raw, grilled, fried, sauteed, and smoked. 

Is It Safe To Eat Blue Marlin Raw?

Eating any raw meat increases your risk of contracting a food-borne illness. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria that can be found on certain raw foods.

The bacteria grows until the food is heated to a certain temperature, which kills it. If the fish is consumed raw, that bacteria enters the body. 

Food poisoning can cause upset stomach, vomiting, fever, chills, dehydration, and in severe cases, death. 

Can You Eat Raw Blue Marlin While Pregnant? 

Eating raw meat isn’t advisable for any pregnant woman. The bacteria that grows on food can be passed on to your unborn child because some of these illnesses can pass through the womb. Some types of food poisoning can be fatal to the unborn child and the mother. 

Food poisoning in pregnant women can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature births.

It can result in death in the mother as well. Certain types of food poisoning illnesses can be passed to the child during delivery as well. 

It’s important for pregnant women to avoid eating raw or undercooked meat for their entire pregnancy to avoid any of these circumstances. 

What Does Blue Marlin Taste Like? 

Some people say that Blue Marlin tastes like tuna, and others say that the fish tastes strong and gamey. This difference in taste depends on the size and age of the fish. 

If the Blue Marlin is older, the fish will have a stronger taste. Female Blue Marlins are larger than males, so they will have a stronger taste as well. 

Best Ways to Prepare Blue Marlin

Some people are not afraid to try new and different foods. We all like different tastes, so Blue Marlin may not be for everyone.

However, if prepared the correct way, Blue Marlin can be a tasty meal. 

Smoked Blue Marlin 

Smoked Blue Marlin is a popular menu item in South America. Any type of smoked fish is usually tender and juicy, so if prepared the right way, it is delicious. 

Baked Blue Marlin

Grilled Blue Marlin in Lemon Butter Sauce is a recipe that my family uses. Fillets are put on a pan lined with aluminum foil.

We season our fish with Tony’s Chachere’s fish seasoning, garlic salt and lemon pepper. Season to taste. 

Pour the melted butter and lemon juice over the fillets and place them in the oven. Bake the fillets in the oven at 350 degrees until they are lightly browned.

You will want to flip them and allow the other side to cook as well. 

Pan Seared And Raw Blue Marlin

Pan seared and raw Blue Marlin are also popular choices of dish preparations. Pan searing takes place when only the outer edges of the fish fillet is cooked to a light golden brown. 


Many Asian countries use Blue Marlin to make Sashimi, which is a popular sushi dish made out of Blue Marlin steaks and soy sauce.

What Do Blue Marlin Eat?

Blue Marlin feed on a variety of fish like squid, dolphins, flying fish, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel, and tuna.

Many of these fish are caught by commercial fishermen, so when Blue Marlin are feeding, they sometimes get caught in their nets. 

Blue Marlin

Blue Marlins are fast and skilled predators that use their long bill to stun their prey before going in for the kill.

They live mostly solitary lives and don’t live together with groups of other Blue Marlins.

Where Can You Eat Blue Marlin?

Finding somewhere to eat Blue Marlin may be more difficult unless you live somewhere that normally prepares this dish as part of their culture or you catch the fish on your own.

I have lived on the Gulf of Mexico my entire life and have never tried Blue Marlin. 

When looking for restaurants around this area that served Blue Marlin, I couldn’t find any restaurants that offered this as a dish.

Some restaurants may offer this as a dish, so check with local seafood restaurants that you have around your home. 

South America and Asian countries routinely prepare Blue Marlin as traditional dishes.

If you have Blue Marlin on your list of foods to try, maybe take a vacation and try it out while you’re there. 

Where Are Blue Marlin Found? 

One reason why I found it so hard to find Blue Marlin on a menu is because I don’t live near an ocean where they are found.

We live near the Gulf of Mexico, but they don’t usually travel to this part of the ocean. 

The places that are considered to have large populations of Blue Marlin are Cairns, Australia; Kona, Hawaii; Madeira, Portugal; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Los Suenos, Costa Rica. 

Many of these places are tourist destinations, and people have used fishing for Blue Marlin to their advantage.

Tourists can pay to rent a charter boat where a captain will take them to catch Blue Marlin and other larger fish that are considered fun to catch because of the fight that they give the angler. 

Blue Marlin

This can easily cause the population to become skewed, especially during tourist seasons.

Should You Eat Blue Marlin?

This question is about your own personal preference. Blue Marlin are listed as a vulnerable species. This means that they could become endangered. 

Overfishing, fishing nets, sports fishing, and other means of death have caused the numbers of the fish to dwindle.

The ocean is a large place with many fish to catch, and part of being a responsible angler is knowing when to stop fishing for a certain species and allow for regrowth. 

Even though Blue Marlin don’t have many natural predators as full grown adults, they have a lot of predators as babies.

Only 1% of the female’s 7,000 eggs will survive to adulthood because of the other fish that will eat the eggs she spawns. 

A female can spawn eggs up to four times in a year, but with dwindling numbers of Blue Marlins, and only a small amount of those eggs surviving, the species could be doomed. 

Why Is The Blue Marlin Population Dwindling?

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this, because marine biologists don’t really know.

Many of these fish die when they are caught in the nets of fishermen who are fishing for different types of fish.

Blue Marlin like to herd smaller fish that are schooling into one area and then pick them off as dinner. 

Tournament Fishing 

Unfortunately, these types of fish are the ones that fishermen are given big prizes for catching, so a lot of Blue Marlins get caught in the nets and die. 

Blue Marlins are also considered trophy fish because of their large bill. Many anglers aim to catch a large Blue Marlin, but most of them also plan on releasing the fish once they land it on the boat. 

Blue Marlins are very aggressive fish, so they fight back when they are hooked. A lot of times they are injured in the fight and die before they even reach the boat. 

Some fish are released, only to die a slow death later due to injuries that were brought on by being hooked or fighting against the angler that caught and released them. 

Younger Juveniles Have Tender And Tastier Meat

The population could also be dwindling due to people wanting the younger fish that taste better.

Any younger fish is going to taste better because it hasn’t lived as long and had enough chances to develop a strong, gamey taste.

This means more juveniles are killed and don’t reach adulthood, eliminating their chance to spawn eggs. 

Marine Biologists don’t really know why their numbers are dwindling, but the fact that they are is an issue that everyone needs to take note of.

Many of these fish have been tagged so their migration habits can be monitored. 

The hope is that this can help fishermen avoid the areas that they are traveling while migrating, which will in turn allow the population to continue to grow without interference.

With that being said, you have to make your own choice about whether you should or shouldn’t eat Blue Marlin. 

Substitutions For Blue Marlin

Luckily, for those who love seafood, there are plenty of substitutions for Blue Marlin. Even though the fish is tasty, it is close to becoming endangered.

There are many similar fish that are more numerous and just as tasty. 


Tuna is one fish that is numerous in the ocean. Tuna are delicious and easily attainable.

Fillets are sold in many supermarkets. Other fish that are just as tasty and are perfect substitutions for Blue Marlin are Mahi-Mahi and Swordfish.

Final Verdict

Eating Blue Marlin as a meal is popular amongst many people who enjoy seafood. From a moral standpoint, you may not be comfortable eating Blue Marlin because they are so close to becoming an endangered species.

There are many other tasty options of fish similar to Blue Marlin that you can choose from.

Raw Blue Marlin can be consumed, but pregnant women should not eat any type of raw meat.

Blue Marlin is prepared in many tasty dishes around the world, even though it is higher in mercury. Because of this, they should only be consumed in small portions. 

There are health benefits to eating Blue Marlin because they are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is considered lean meat and is a good source of protein. 

Dwindling populations of Blue Marlin have become a concern for Marine Biologists and others who want to preserve the species.

Keeping the species off the endangered animals’ list is important, and the Blue Marlin population needs time to grow again.