Scientific Name

Kajikia audax (Previously Tetrapturus audax)
Striped Marlin


Striped marlin occur in tropical and warm temperature waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. On the west coast of the United States they range as far north as Oregon, but are most common south of Point Conception, California.


Pelagic, Open Ocean Environment

Size (length and weight)

Reported maximum size up to 4.3 meters (14 feet) and 204 kilograms (450 pounds), In California, the records is 14.1 meters (13.5 feet) and 153.8 kilograms (339 pounds).

Life Span

Up to 20 years


Spawning occurs in the central Pacific and off central Mexico.


The food of striped marlin is predominately fishes, squid, crabs and shrimp. The latter three make up lesser portions of the diet than do fish. The spear of the marlin is sometimes used both as a weapon for defense and as an aid in capturing food. When it uses its bill in capturing food, the striped marlin sometimes stuns its prey by slashing sideways with the spear rather than impaling its victim, as some believe.


Large pelagic sharks or toothed whales prey on adult marlin.


There is no commercial fishery for striped marlin in California or the U.S. West Coast. Sale of striped marlin by vessels under Pacific Fishery Management Council jurisdiction is prohibited. Striped marlin is important to the recreational fishery in California and several annual tournaments are held in Southern California. Most effort for striped marlin is catch and release.

Area Fished

The best California fishing extends from the east end of Santa Catalina Island offshore to San Clemente Island and southward in the direction of the Los Coronados Islands.

Fishing season

There is no recreational fishing season limit. Marlin usually appear off California in July and remain until late October. Striped marlin is caught year-round.

Fishing gear

Most striped marlin are taken by trolling artificial lures. Blind strikes are generally the rule, but one can occasionally tempt a "finner" or "sleeper" (marlin swimming along the surface) to strike if lures are trolled past the fish. Live bait also works well but requires more effort since the fish must be spotted visually. Most striped marlin anglers prefer Pacific mackerel as bait.


None in California.

Current Stock Status

Marlin are considered to be above target population level in the eastern Pacific. According to the 2010 stock assessment, the Eastern Pacific stock is not overfished and not subject to overfishing. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) conducted this assessment.


Management of highly migratory species, like Pacific striped marlin, is complicated because the species migrates thousands of miles across international boundaries and are fished by many nations. Effective conservation and management of this resource requires international cooperation as well as strong domestic management. NOAA Fisheries and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the Pacific striped marlin fishery domestically. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife collaborates with NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) to manage the Pacific striped marlin fishery on the West Coast, in federal waters (3 to 200 miles offshore) under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species.

Two organizations, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) manage this fishery internationally. These Commissions rely on the scientific advice of their staff and the analyses of the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific (ISC) to develop and adopt international resolutions for conservation and management measures. Working with the U.S. Department of State, NOAA Fisheries domestically implements conservation and management measures adopted by WCPFC and IATTC.

Recreationally, both the U.S. and Mexico have implemented specific bag limits to help ensure sustainability.