Marlin fish are best known for their spear-like snout.
They’re large fish and can offer a good meal to seafood lovers.
If you have a hankering for marlin, then you may come to realize that buying marlin can be quite expensive.
Considering how much meat you can get from a marlin, you may wonder why it’s so expensive.
Why Is Marlin So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
You can find marlin at some grocery stores for around $11.
However, if you were to catch a certain type of marlin in a fishing competition, your catch could end up having a value of more than $2 million.
Certain factors like the marlin’s endangered status, the complexity of fishing it, and the fact that it’s a high prize in fishing competitions all make the marlin quite expensive.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. Low In Fat And Sodium
One of the reasons marlin fish is so expensive is that it’s quite healthy in comparison to other types of fish.
For one, marlin is low in both fat and sodium.
This makes it healthy for a few reasons.
Being low in fat means those who are watching their diets can eat marlin without worrying too much.
Fats can be both healthy and unhealthy.
The great thing about marlin is that it has some healthy fat, but since it’s low in fat, it means it’s also low in unhealthy fat.
Unhealthy fat can lead to obesity if you eat too much of it.
Many other factors can also lead to obesity, but eating a lot of foods rich in fat certainly doesn’t help.
Obesity can lead to several other health problems like diabetes and an increased risk of heart disease.
Since marlin doesn’t have that much fat on it, its meat is on the healthier side.
The fact that it’s low in sodium is also ideal.
Too much sodium can be bad for those suffering from heart disease.
It may increase the risk of certain cardiac conditions.
Because marlin is low in sodium, it’s a healthier type of fish to eat.
This makes marlin a bit more popular than some of the other types of fish.
Even if it’s rarer to find in a grocery store, there tends to be high demand for it because it’s a healthier fish to eat.
Scarcity is a major problem facing marlin.
In particular, there are a few factors that are impacting marlin populations.
One of those factors is overfishing.
Marlins are large fish that can be quite heavy.
They offer a lot of meat.
Because they offer so much meat, they’re highly prized among fish food brands.
Fish food brands can get more products out of a single fish.
As such, a lot of brands push their fishermen to snag as many as they can.
Without marlin, after all, they don’t have a product to sell.
Due to widescale fishing, however, marlin numbers have diminished.
Their numbers are growing smaller and smaller.
That means there are fewer marlin meals on grocery shelves.
Companies aren’t able to produce more simply because they’re unable to fish any more marlin out of the water.
With fewer marlin in the sea, it impacts the supply of marlin meat.
When supply is low and demand is high, the price of marlin goes up.
While there have been regulations put in place to help protect marlins, there are other factors also impacting their livelihoods.
As such, manufacturers don’t have as many products to make.
Marlin is expensive because overfishing has decreased their numbers and made them endangered.
3. Sport-Fishing Competition
Another factor that has led to decreased numbers is sports fishing competitions.
High-seas fishing competitions or large lake fishing competitions tend to focus on big fish as the main prize.
If a fisherman can hook and land a large fish, they could get the trophy for the day.
Marlins are often awarded the top prize.
If a fisherman can hook and land a marlin, there’s a very good chance that they will win the competition.
As such, a lot of fishermen end up focusing on fishing marlin during a competition.
Other competitions will even specifically state that fishermen need to catch a marlin to win.
The main reason they choose the marlin is that it’s a difficult fish to snag and land.
It’s fast, heavy, and strong.
It takes an expert fisherman to land one.
The problem with fishing competitions focusing on marlins is that it’s not doing anything to help their endangered status.
The caught marlin usually isn’t returned to the water after it’s caught.
The fisherman usually has to bring it to the judges for evaluation.
The marlin might then get harvested and served to celebrate.
Fishing competitions don’t capture as many marlins as big-brand fishing companies, but they do make the problem worse.
To capture a marlin, fishermen have to practice, after all.
That means they’re out there further decreasing the number of marlins by practicing.
Fishing competitions make marlin expensive because they’re further reducing the number of marlin fish.
Without healthy numbers, a shortage of marlin meat occurs.
Whenever there’s a shortage, the price of the item increases.
4. Personal Trophies
The private fishing sector is also to blame for marlin becoming expensive.
Whether it’s to train for a fishing competition or just for personal enjoyment, a lot of expert fishermen eventually go after marlins.
To a lot of fishermen, landing a marlin is one of the hallmarks of being a great fisherman.
They’ll take the head or snout of the marlin as a trophy.
Private fishermen don’t always follow the regulations put in place by the government.
Unless they’re fishing in highly-regulated waters, they can usually catch as many marlin fish as they want.
Part of the reason is that it’s highly unlikely they’re going to fish up a large number of marlin in a given time.
They’re difficult to catch, after all.
However, the fact that private fishermen can go off and catch marlin doesn’t help the marlin recover their numbers.
They’re facing a bunch of stressors.
They have commercial fishermen, competitive fishermen, and private fishermen that they need to avoid.
Even if the fisherman only takes a handful of marlin from the water in a given season, that’s still a few fewer marlins each year.
It doesn’t help that it takes a couple of years for marlin to reach maturity.
Male marlin fish take around two years to mature.
Female marlin fish take around three to four years to mature.
This means that those marlins need to survive for that long to mate and give birth to more marlin fish.
If there are a lot of fishermen in the area, then their chances of making it to maturity to have children decreases.
With fewer marlins in the water, it means there are fewer marlins in the grocery stores, thus making it more expensive.
In order to help get marlin populations back up to plentiful numbers, regulations are in place to limit commercial and recreational fishing.
Regarding recreational fishing, the United States only allows 250 marlins to get caught and killed.
That includes the different species of marlin.
Commercial fishermen also have a limited number that they can catch.
The regulations also require commercial fishers to take on different expenses to ensure they’re not disrupting marlin populations too much.
For example, they have to use certain types of nets to limit by-catching.
They also need to ensure the nets are large enough that smaller, younger marlins can swim through them.
There are also several other regulations that commercial fishermen need to follow.
This ends up making fishing a bit more expensive.
Since the company is taking on a higher expense, they end up charging more for their products.
As such, the marlin meat in a grocery store becomes more expensive.
Regulations also impact the supply chain.
Since commercial and recreational fishermen can only catch so many fish in a year, that’s all the materials they’re able to use to make their products.
Commercial fish companies are always going to face a shortage so long as marlin remains in demand.
Since that’s the case, they’re able to put a higher price tag on their meat products.
Marlin is expensive because of the role regulations play in adding more expenses to fishing as well as ensuring there’s always a shortage of marlin meat.
6. High Mercury Levels
Another factor that further limits the available supply of marlin meat is its tendency to have high mercury levels.
Mercury is a serious problem affecting fish and other types of wildlife.
Mercury can also accumulate in fish.
When you eat fish that have high levels of mercury in them, you’re also allowing the mercury to accumulate in your own body.
Mercury is dangerous and toxic for humans.
It can damage your organs.
Long-term exposure can even change your personality or put you in a coma.
It’s why a lot of women who are pregnant refrain from eating fish while they’re pregnant.
The mercury can accumulate in the body and cause birth defects.
The problem with marlin is that they sometimes have high levels of mercury in them.
They get mercury by eating food and passing water over their gills to breathe.
Mercury gets into their food through the improper disposal of mercury-containing products and by burning certain fossil fuels.
When you throw away something that has mercury in it, it ends up in the landfill.
The mercury absorbs into the environment and gets taken up to the clouds.
When it rains or snows, there’s a chance that the mercury can fall with it, in the form of acid rain, and pollute bodies of water.
It then gets introduced to marlin and other types of fish whenever they eat or pass the water over their gills.
Mercury makes marlin expensive because it means some marlins that are caught have to get tossed out.
Manufacturers can’t sell marlin that is high in mercury.
They’d be poisoning their customers.
As such, they have to toss out marlin that tests positive for high mercury.
This further impacts the supply of available marlin meat and its price.
Marlin is expensive because they’re often high in mercury and that leads to shortages and high prices.
7. Requires Special Equipment
Fishing for marlin is expensive.
They’re extremely large fish and weigh several tons.
Regular fishing gear won’t cut it.
As such, private fishermen and commercial fishermen need to invest in high-quality fishing equipment to capture them.
The equipment needs to be strong enough to pull the heavy fish onto the deck of the boat.
If they don’t have the right equipment, then there’s a good chance that the line or net will snap.
Since it costs the fishermen more money to equip themselves, they’re going to pass those expenses onto the customer.
8. Requires Right Boat To Fish It
Besides having the right equipment, commercial fishermen also need the right boat.
You can’t expect to capture a marlin in just a rowboat.
Besides capsizing, the marlin would easily drag it out into the water even further.
As such, commercial fishermen need a large and powerful boat that can withstand a strong marlin.
They need to have enough power to be able to fight against the drag that a marlin will provide.
It also needs to be large enough to fit the marlin in it.
Otherwise, the marlin might sink the boat.
Large fishing ships don’t come cheap.
They also see a lot of wear and tear while out on the water.
As such, they tend to need a lot of maintenance to stay in top shape.
That makes fishing marlin that much more expensive.
Since it’s expensive, commercial fishermen will need to pass those expenses on to their customers.
9. Climate Change
Another big factor that is impacting marlin populations is climate change.
Some species of marlin live in tropical waters.
Others live in slightly colder climates.
Like other types of wildlife and sea life, marlins thrive in the conditions they’ve evolved for.
When those conditions change, they’re no longer as effective or efficient as surviving.
Warmer or colder temperatures than what they’re used to, for example, can make them sluggish.
That impacts their ability to hunt and feed themselves.
It also impacts the other creatures in the water.
Even plant life gets affected.
When plant life is unable to grow due to climate change, then it impacts smaller fish that eat those plants.
Larger fish, like marlins, then face problems because there are fewer smaller fish to eat.
With climate change impacting marlin populations, it means there are fewer marlins to catch and eat.
Marlin is expensive because of the role climate change has played in reducing their populations.
A final reason marlin is expensive is that it’s often seen as a delicacy.
Marlin isn’t the same as tuna or salmon.
It’s not a fish that’s common to eat.
Its price, for one thing, tends to make it a rarer type of food to eat.
It’s reserved for special occasions or when you feel like splurging on seafood.
Other cultures see marlin as a delicacy.
Since it’s seen as a delicacy, it comes at a delicacy price.
It’s a special type of meat like high-quality steak.
Marlin is expensive because it’s seen as a delicacy.
Marlin is a huge fish that provides a lot of meat.
However, due to regulations and problems impacting its population, the price of marlin meat has become expensive.