broadbill swordfish
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe
Season: Open all year

bag limit1


possession limit1


boat limit2

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size


Most scalefish are measured from the nose to the end of the tail. Get your scalefish measuring ruler or sticker at any Service Tasmania outlet.

Other names

broadbill swordfish, broadbill, broad-billed swordfish, sword

Scientific name

Xiphias gladius

Grows to

Up to

5m and 650kg

Identifying features

​Broadbill swordfish have an elongated round body with purple to black colouring along the back, a whiter underbelly and a silvery sheen along the flanks. They can be recognised by their large sickle shaped dorsal fin and a prominent sword shaped bill. Swordfish have the amazing ability, by way of a complex net of arteries and veins in their eyes and brain, to keep these organs up to 15 degrees warmer than surrounding waters to assist the fish focus on prey capture.


Found outside the continental shelf tending to prefer seamounts and areas around sea upwelling. Rarely found in shallow coastal waters.

Fishing information

A recreational fishery for this highly valued, migratory species has emerged in Tasmania in recent years. They are found from the surface to 600 metres in depth but will frequent surface waters during times of full moon. They prefer squid baits but will also take fish and well-presented squid type lures drifted in deep water.


These large fish produce tasty, creamy coloured oily flesh which are best cooked in steaks. Do not over-cook as the flesh will become tough and dry. Barbecuing imparts additional flavours. Swordfish can bioaccumulate high levels of methylmercury so Food Standards Australia recommend restrictions on the amount of swordfish eaten.


Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

What to report? arrow button

Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: fishing.licensing@nre.tas.gov.au