Have you tried the other (other) white meat? ... Swordfish

Hawaii's commercial fishermen urge consumers to choose locally sourced seafood over fish flown in frozen from countries.
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 6:57 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2023 at 7:52 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s commercial fishing industry is asking Hawaii families to consider (or reconsider) a fish that’s fallen out of favor over the years.

While Hawaii is known for its ahi and other tuna, swordfish is actually a big part of the commercial fishing industry in the islands. So much so that the Hawaii Longline Association says its fleet provides about half the country’s demand for swordfish — caught more than 1,000 miles north of Hawaii.

Hawaii's commercial fishermen want locals to eat more swordfish

But while more than 80% of the fresh fish sold in Hawaii stays here, that’s not the case for swordfish.

“It’s kind of reverse, most goes to the mainland instead of retain here locally,” said Eric Kingma, executive director of the Hawaii Longline Association.

“Wo we’re trying to change that (and) just bring awareness that their product is here.”

But is it any good? Kingma says it’s “tasty.”

Swordfish season runs through May and because demand locally is lower, you’re likely to get a better deal. Swordfish goes for about $5-8 a pound at wholesale, while quality tuna can sell for double that.

Floyd Otani of United Fishing Agency which runs the Honolulu fish auction explained how swordfish are categorized and shipped to the mainland, mainly to the East Coast.

“Local people just love the raw fish and poke and ahi but swordfish is as good a quality fish as you can find in the ocean,” Kingma said.

With renewed focus on supporting local food producers, Hawaii’s commercial fisherman urge consumers to choose locally sourced seafood over fish flown in frozen from countries like the Philippines or Indonesia.

And don’t confuse it with its billfish cousin, the marlin.

Swordfish has more oil content because it lives in colder waters and is easier to cook.

“Blue marlin or Kojiki was frequently sold as swordfish in the past, because we hear people say old timers say, I don’t like swordfish because it’s dry, but you overcooking marlin,” said John Kaneko, of the Hawaii Seafood Council. “If you try the local swordfish, you’ll realize that it’s an excellent fish for grilling.”

Nico’s Pier 38 is among the local restaurants known for their delicious swordfish dishes, including a pan-seared panko crusted swordfish with a coconut cream sauce and a green peppercorn and five herb marinated grilled swordfish topped with sauce vierge.