A swordfish has been spotted for the first time ever in Manx waters. Seen by Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch during a boat-based survey aboard research vessel Galps on 27th August, just 4.7miles off Niarbyl.
The team spotted something large leaping clear of the water up ahead and saw instantly that it was a swordfish. The animals’ incredible long ‘sword’ shaped bill could clearly be seen. Upon getting a little closer and waiting with the engines turned off, the rare creature approached the vessel and spent some time swimming around. At points it got very close to the stationary vessel, allowing MWDW to get photos of the animal just beneath the surface, showing the sword and even the large eyes of this fish. The dorsal and tail fin were hugely scarred, which are most likely battle scars through fighting with their prey. The animal was estimated to have been around 3 metres in length. They are one of the fastest fish in the ocean and have been recorded swimming at 60mph while hunting.
This is the first time a swordfish has ever been reported and confirmed in Manx waters and MWDW cannot stress just how rarely they are sighted around the British Isles. They are a migratory oceanic fish that can usually be found offshore in the Northwest Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea, and are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List as of 2021.